District of Columbia Child Custody Factors

In the District of Columbia, the court will give each parent equal consideration by considering the following factors:

(1) the childís wishes, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity;

(2) the wishes of the parents;

(3) the childís adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;

(4) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

(5) the relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members;

(6) the willingness of the parents to share custody;

(7) the prior involvement of the parent in the childís life;

(8) the geographical proximity of the parents;

(9) the sincerity of the parentís request;

(10) the age and number of children;

(11) the demands of parental employment;

(12) the impact on any welfare benefits;

(13) any evidence of spousal or child abuse;

(14) the capacity of the parents to communicate and reach shared decisions affecting the childís welfare;

(15) the potential disruption of the childís social and school life; and

(16) the parentís abililty to financially support a joint custody arrangement. There is a rebuttable presumption that joint interest is in the best interests of the child unless child abuse, neglect, parental kidnapping or other intrafamily violence has occurred. The court may order the parents to submit a written parenting plan for custody. (District of Columbia Code - Title 16 - Chapter 9 - Sections: 911, 914)

In District of Columbia, as with all other states, the court will always be looking out for the best interests of the children. What you want or your spouse wants is not really relevant until the court says it is. Many parents go to custody hearings not realizing that they must portray themselves as the best custodial parent rather pleading to the court that they simply deserve the children. The court would much prefer the parents to decide who should have custody, but if they canít, the court will do it for them. You can also read more about District of Columbia child custody in the District of Columbia state statutes located at: