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Child custody and the best interests of children

Child custody matters can be resolved through negotiations or mediation or by having a judge make the decision. Tennessee parents whose marriages are coming to an end should know that no matter how they come to a resolution regarding these issues, the best interests of the child should always be the focus.

'Best interests" is a term that is used in family law with regard to child custody and visitation matters. It means that the objective is to always make decisions that ensure that the mental, physical and mental well-being of the child are protected. It is considered to be in the best interests of children that they are able to have meaningful relationships with both parents. However, making sure that the factors are in place to encourage and maintain the relationships is one of the difficulties involved in achieving child custody resolutions.

There are multiple factors that are used to determine the best interests of the child. They include the preferences of the child if he or she is mature enough to provide an informed opinion. The physical and mental health of the parents, whether the child has special needs and whether each parent is able to provide the necessary care are also issues that have to be evaluated. Additional factors include the sex and age of the child and whether there are any other children whose situation may be related to the child custody decision. Parents, their attorneys and the family court judge also may have consider what type of adjustment children would have to make to the community and school.

Child custody can often be one of the most emotional aspects of a divorce. In many cases, the parties' respective attorneys can facilitate negotiations in an attempt to avoid what could be a bitter dispute.

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