A term you and your spouse will hear frequently if you have children and are going through the divorce process is the term “best interests” in reference to your children. In family law, this commonly used term plays a big role in determining child custody, so it is important to familiarize yourself with its meaning.
Here is what you need to know about the term best interests in the context of a child custody dispute:
- In a child custody case, the best interests of a child will guide the court’s decisions. In most cases, the court considers the involvement of both parents to be in a child’s best interests and, as such, will opt for an arrangement that allows for a child to maintain a close relationship with them. If the court believes the involvement of a parent in a child’s life will be a determinant to the child’s health, happiness, emotional development, or security, however, it is likely the court will reduce the time that parent is allowed to have with the child. In some cases, a parent might even be supervised during scheduled visitation.
- To understand more specifically what the best interests of a child means in this context, we will review some of the factors the court examines when deciding what is in the best interests of a child. The following factors are all considered to have an impact on the best interests of a child and are key elements in determining child custody:
- The overall physical and mental health of both parents
- The special needs of a child and how capable each parent is in caring for those needs
- The ability of each parent to maintain a stable home environment
- The age and maturity level of the child
- The level of support a child might receive from extended family members
- How well the child interacts with other members of either parent’s household
- In some cases, if a child is old enough and mature enough, the court might consider his or her preference within reason
- Cultural or religious considerations
- If there is a history of domestic violence in either household
- If either parent has a history of substance abuse
- If either parent uses an excessive amount of discipline
These are just some of the many factors involved in determining the best interests of a child. Depending on your specific situation, there might be several other unique factors that might be considered when making a decision regarding child custody and visitation rights.
Schedule a Consultation with a Child Custody Attorney Today!
If you are going through a child custody dispute, you need to obtain the assistance of an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. At Mitchell & West LLC, our child custody attorneys will help guide you through the process and ensure that the best possible results are obtained.
Contact our law office today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a confidential case review with one of our compassionate attorneys.