In a Child’s Best Interests: Primary Caregiver

In part 6 of this 7 part series, we discuss the Primary Caregiver factor.

This is one of the more important factors. Often, the primary parent is described as the administrative parent. This parent makes doctor’s appointment, brushes teeth, makes dinner and lunches, wipes noses, tucks in, kisses owies, signs the children up for school and activates, does the school shopping, and other necessary things required for a child’s day to day needs. Sometimes it is very clear who this parent is, sometimes it is not. Sometimes (more so in recent years) both parents are the primary caregiver.

Statistically, mothers are the primary caregivers, which gives the impression that the law favors mothers. For those fathers who want custody of their children, they are well advised to know what size clothes and shoes their child wears, know their children’s teacher’s and friend’s names, and be prepared to respond to the children’s needs without mother’s guidance.

The court favors the primary caregiver because the child is usually more bonded to the primary caregiver and feels safe and secure with the primary caregiver. This is often because it might be traumatic for the child to be removed from the primary caregiver. However, the law and cultural beliefs about the role of a primary caregiver are always changing. Father’s are spending more and more time with children, even if the mother is found to be the primary caregiver.

Stay tuned for part 7 for a more in depth discussion about the Fostering and Encouraging a Close and Continuing Relationship.