What is in the best interests of the child is an important family law standard to be familiar with. What is in the best interests of the child guides child custody decision making. Because of this, it is important for divorcing parents to be familiar with.
The focus of child custody determinations is what is in the best interests of the child. This is true whether the family law court is developing a child custody arrangement for the divorcing parents or if the parents are negotiating a child custody arrangement between themselves. It is important that any child custody arrangement arrived at supports and fosters the child’s overall well-being including the child’s security, happiness, mental health and emotional development.
A variety of factors are considered when determining what is in the best interests of the child and which factors are evaluated can vary by state so it is helpful for divorcing parents to be familiar with the factors that are evaluated where they are at. Factors that may be considered include the age and sex of the child and wishes of the child in some circumstances; any special needs of the child and the ability of each of the parents to meet those needs; the mental and physical health of the parents; the need for a continued and stable home environment; any other child custody arrangements that impact the child’s custody arrangement; relationships with other members of the household; the opportunity to interact with extended family members; any adjustment to school and community; religious and cultural considerations; and any history of abuse.
It is important that what is in the best interests of the child is carefully considered when setting up a child custody arrangement. It helps to keep parents focused and know what to expect from their child custody process.