The scariest part of divorce for most parents is the thought of losing custody of their children. The first step in gaining custody of your children is understanding the laws that govern child custody. In Mississippi these laws or factors are often referred to as the “Albright Factors” which were set forth in the case Albright v. Albright, 437 So.2d 1003, 1005 (Miss. 1983).
In 1983 the Mississippi Supreme Court decided the following:
We reaffirm the rule that the polestar consideration in child custody cases is the best interest and welfare of the child. The age of the child is subordinated to that rule and is but one factor to be considered. Age should carry no greater weight than other factors to be considered, such as: health, and sex of the child; a determination of the parent that has had the continuity of care prior to the separation; which has the best parenting skills and which has the willingness and capacity to provide primary child care; the employment of the parent and responsibilities of that employment; physical and mental health and age of the parents; emotional ties of parent and child; moral fitness of parents; the home, school and community record of the child; the preference of the child at the age sufficient to express a preference by law; stability of home environment and employment of each parent, and other factors relevant to the parent-child relationship.
Marital fault should not be used as a sanction in custody awards. Relative financial situations is not controlling since the duty to support is independent of the right to custody. Differences in religion, personal values and lifestyles should not be the sole basis for custody decisions.
Since the original case of Albright v. Albright in 1983, there have been several other supreme court decisions that affect the Albright Factors: The Albright Factors are not to be applied in the manner of a scoresheet or mathematical formula. Lee v. Lee 798 So. 2d 1284 (Miss 2001). The Chancellor may give special weight to one, two, or several factors to determine the outcome. Divers v. Divers 856 So 2d 370 (Miss. App. 2003). The Chancellor has the ultimate discretion to judge the weight and credibility of evidence. Chamblee v. Chamblee 637 So. 2d 850, 860 (Miss. 1994); Johnson v. Gray, 859 So. 2d 1006, 1013-1014 (Miss. 2003).
In conclusion, the Chancellor will make his/her decision based on the best interest of the child, period. This will be done by analyzing all the Albright Factors and giving weight to the factors that are determined to be most appropriate for the case at hand. Although the Chancellor must give consideration to each factor, and does use these factors to form an opinion, he/she will have a good idea of what will be in child’s best interest before mulling over the factors one by one to construct the Court’s Opinion.
At the Law Office of Joseph D. Songy, PLLC Attorney and Counselor at Law we take special care to ensure that you have the best representation possible throughout your child custody case. As always if you need any legal assistance, give our office a call at 601-336-0305 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your Free Consultation from a local attorney in Hattiesburg, MS.
PLEASE NOTE: Nothing in this post shall be construed as an offering of legal advice. These posts are meant for informative and educational purposes only. Please call our office to discuss any legal issues you may be facing.