Divorce is never an easy thing to go through, but it is made even more complicated when children are involved. Over 40% of marriages in the United States end in divorce, which means that plenty of couples are going to court to decide who gets primary guardianship when it comes the custody of their children.

Recently, a North Carolina woman was apprehended for abducting her 5-year-old daughter. The mother, Kristie Lynn Brooks had gone into hiding in December 2015 with her daughter Autumn Raine Newberry-Rape. Brooks was upset over her former partner receiving primary custody and several allegations were thrown his way in regards to being an unsafe father.

Of course, the case between Brooks, who kidnapped her daughter rather than hand her over, and the state of North Carolina is a unique one. Still, it brings to light the complicated and emotional process of determining and managing child custody.

Primary Caregiver

When a custody case goes to court, the judge must determine which parent is the primary caregiver. This person is typically the parent the child lives with after separation. However, custody could be given to the parent who had the most involvement in the child’s day-to-day life. Some legal experts believe that fathers do not get a fair shake when it comes to custody fights as mothers are often the ones awarded primary custody. There is a push by many to recognize fathers as equally as vital as mothers in the child’s daily lives. This is especially the case today, with more women working outside of the home, and thus away from their children, than in previous decades.


Courts tend to favor the ‘status quo’ and want to cause as little disruption to a child’s life as possible. Finding the least disruptive solution is imprtant in custody decisions.   


Courts also look at the childcare arrangements parents have made before or during separation. While the courts like to see parents who work, it is often a parent who is not employed or needs to make fewer childcare arrangements that gets custody of the son or daughter. Of course, this goes back to the days of one parent being the primary wage earner.

What Does the Child Want?

The child or children can be asked what their desires are, but judges do not have to speak to the kids. In addition, judges do not have to act upon the stated desires of the child.

Other Factors That Influence Child Custody

There are other factors that influence a judge’s decision on selecting the parent for primary custody. The standard of living and area the parent lives in can affect a court’s decision. In addition, the courts generally want to keep siblings together, especially if they lived together previously, so this too can affect a custody battle.

Contact Vayman and Teitelbaum

If you are going through a divorce and need advice on family law, Vayman and Teitelbaum can help. Located in Georgia, with several offices throughout the Atlanta metro area, our attorneys are committed to helping Georgian families in their times of need. Our child custody attorneys are able to discuss your unique situation to find out how we can help you. Contact our offices today to schedule a case evaluation.