To explore how child and family factors influence judicial decision making in contested custody cases, 18 family court judges participated in a semistructured interview that tapped (a) child and family factors considered relevant in determining child custody and (b) how these factors influence custody decisions. Judges cited a variety of factors as being influential, including the child's age and developmental status, the child's wishes regarding the custody arrangement, the child's stability, parental fitness, the history of the parent-child relationships, which parent has been the primary caregiver, each parent's willingness to foster the child's relationship with the other parent, and extrafamilial support, Results from a content analysis reflect the manner in which these factors influence judicial decision making. Emergent themes were identified based on four overarching factors.
- Child custody
- Judicial decisions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)