In my fifteen years of experience, I have found that courts (not always to be sure) try to make child custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interest; simple as that.
Typically, the judge weighs a number of various interrelated factors. While the factors vary from state-to-state, they may generally include:
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the court may award sole legal custody or joint legal custody. The court will also award a primary custodial parent if 50-50 is not ordered. The non-custodial parent will also be ordered to pay child support unless a deviation can be shown.
While some states favor joint or shared custody, others prefer that one parent has primary custody of the child (while the other parent has visitation rights). New Mexico prefers JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY. New Mexico law prefers co-parenting. If you need help understanding how your state handles child custody issues, contact me.