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How your home can impact your custody rights

If you've moved out of your family home following your separation or divorce -- particularly if you've downsized considerably -- you may be concerned that your living accommodations will impact your custody rights. However, you don't have to live in a mansion with massive TVs in every room to be able to provide a good home for your children whenever they're with you.

If you and your spouse aren't able to agree on a custody arrangement and the matter is in the hands of a judge, they'll look at a number of factors unique to you and your children. Let's look at some of those.

Your financial circumstances

If you have the best place you can reasonably afford, that's all that can be expected. However, if a person has chosen to live in a one-bedroom apartment in a crime-ridden part of town when they can easily afford a home in a gated community with enough bedrooms to accommodate their children, a judge may expect them to upgrade at least somewhat before giving them shared custody.

How many children you have

Obviously, the more children you have, the more space they'll need. It may be fine to have a couple of very young children or two siblings of the same gender share a bedroom. However, expecting multiple children to sleep in one room, share your bedroom or sleep on a fold-out sofa may not be acceptable.

Your children's genders and ages

If you have a child of the opposite gender, a judge will want to be sure that they have enough privacy when they're with you. This typically means having their own bedroom, and if possible, their own bathroom. Further, older kids usually want more space (and privacy) than younger ones.

Typically, judges want parents to share custody of their children. They usually understand that this may mean that kids have to adjust to one or both parents living in a smaller home than they did when they were married. The important thing is to show that you're providing the best accommodations for your children that you can and that they have the space and privacy they need to feel safe and comfortable. Your attorney can help you make that case.

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