In Maine, family law judges are responsible for making decisions that they determine to be in a child's best interests. While state laws are written where it shouldn't matter whether the child's gender is aligned with that of the parent requesting custody, there are other factors that shape custody decisions.
A judge may consider the strength of the relationship that exists between parent and child. If they're 12 or older, a judge may even ask them about their own preferences with respect to with whom they want to reside.
For younger kids, a judge may consider your child's age as a way of determining what type of custody arrangement is most ideal for them. They'll also take into account how stable their future living arrangements would be and how easy it may be for them to adjust to their new community, home or school by making certain choices.
A family law judge will want to know more about how willing each parent is to encourage their child to grow their relationship with the other parent as well. If there's a documented history of domestic violence or child abuse, then this may make a judge unwilling to award custody to a parent previously accused of such a crime.
Any parent wishing to relocate with their child is required to give the other one at least 30 days notice before doing so. Whether a judge approves the relocation will be contingent upon the reasons given by the parent for the move.
Before custody decisions are made in Maine, both parents are generally scheduled to come in for meetings with the family law magistrate presiding over their case. During these conferences, there are often discussions of the child's welfare and how to expedite the divorce process. A southern Maine attorney can ensure that your interests are protected in these sessions.