Posts Tagged ‘care’

Albright Factors Part 2: Continuity of Care

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Our previous article discussed the first child custody determination factor from the Mississippi Supreme Court’s ruling in Albright v. Albright, which is the age, health and sex of the minor child. We now shift our focus to the next factor that may be overlooked at first, but then seems to make intuitive sense to most people: the parent who has had continuity of care of the child prior to the separation of the parties.

As with many factors in child custody cases, people often believe this factor presents an inherent bias toward the mother. However, this is not always the case. Either parent could have a very demanding job that simply takes time away from providing care to the child at home. For example, in Copeland v. Copeland, the Chancellor found that this factor favored the father, because he would spend time with the child after work, prepare the child’s meals, and get the child ready for bed until the mother arrived home from work. Copeland v. Copeland, 904 So.2d 1066, 1076 (Miss. 2004). The Court also noted that the continuity of care should be examined prior to and during the separation, so temporary custody cannot weigh too heavily in favor of one parent automatically.

The continuity of care of a minor child can also be examined by which parent seems to carry a bigger load of the responsibilities in caring for a minor child. In May v. May, the mother believed this factor favored her because she took her son to most of his doctor’s appointments, often cooked dinner for the family, and got her son ready to go to school in the morning. The Court noted that while this seemed true, the factor favored both parents evenly because there was evidence that the parents split duties regarding the child’s care, as the father had also taken the child to some appointments and cooked to the best of his abilities (soup and grilling). May v. May, 107 So.3d 1052, 1055 (Miss. Ct. App. 2013).

This factor is one of the Albright factors that begins almost at the birth of the child. Continuity of care will favor the parent who has taken on responsibility of the child’s care, but can often come out as favoring both parents evenly. Contributing to the care of a child can range from the obvious, such as changing and feeding, to the not-so-obvious, such as bedtime stories and trips to the doctor. Parents engaged in a custody battle obviously care about the children, so if you think one of your parenting duties is related to the continuity of care, speak up! Those assertions can only help you, and showing the ability to be responsible for child care will help greatly in the Court’s decision.