During a divorce, a child’s health and safety are still a priority. As two parents split, it is up to the parents and the courts to determine a parenting arrangement that works for all parties involved. How is custody determined? What are the custody options available?

Parents may have joint legal or physical custody or both. In other cases, one parent may become the primary caretaker. There are several factors behind the court’s determination.

How do the courts determine custody?

In Nebraska, according to the legislature, the courts use the child’s best interests to determine physical and legal custody. The courts will also consider parenting plans written by the parents or court developed parenting plans.

The Nebraska legislature further defines what constitutes a child’s best interests. The parenting plan must provide a child with safety and physical care. The child’s primary home must be stable. He or she must reside in an environment that encourages health and emotional growth.

Courts will hear allegations of abuse. If there is abuse towards the child or the other parent, then accommodations to ensure the safety of all parties is a priority. 

What does not factor into child custody?

When the court determines legal or physical custody, there are aspects of a parent that the court cannot use against the said parent. For instance, the court cannot give preference towards either sex. A common misconception is that courts favor the mother, but this is not the case. In addition to sex, courts cannot use disability as a determining factor. No parent is less suitable because of a disability.