Going through a divorce as a parent involves a lot, and the decisions regarding child custody are the most difficult. When the courts make a decision about which parent gets custody, the main considerations involve what is in the best interest of the child. 

Determining this includes factors that relate to the child and both parents. 

Types of custody 

According to FindLaw, there are different types of child custody. One is physical and one is legal. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with. Legal refers to who makes decisions for the child regarding health care, education and religion. Custody also comes in the form of joint or sole. It is common for a judge to grant joint legal custody and sole physical, allowing the other parent to have visitation rights. The state of North Carolina also recognizes visitation rights for grandparents. 

Best interests considerations 

When determining custody, a judge will take into consideration what the wishes of the child are, as long as the child is older and mature enough to understand what is going on. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, other major factors relate to the best interests standard. 

The judge examines the ability of both parents to provide for the child physically, mentally and emotionally. Another consideration is the age of the child and associated needs. One factor of the standard is the health, both physical and mental, of the child and parents. 

The safety of the child is also a major factor. The judge looks for the presence of violence, abuse or addiction in the home and may deny visitation rights to the abuser.