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What are a child’s best interests?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Child Custody

In some cases, parents will work together to come up with a child custody schedule. The court will then approve the schedule during the divorce.

In other cases, though, the court has to issue a child custody order. For instance, they could split custody between both parents or give one parent sole custody rights.

While doing this, the court will try to consider the child’s best interests. If you’re a parent, it’s important to know what these best interests are and how the court makes this determination.

Considering numerous factors

When deciding what will be best for the child, the court will look at a variety of factors, such as:

  • The child’s physical and mental health. 
  • The parents’ physical and mental health. 
  • The child’s age. 
  • The child’s gender. 
  • If the child has a preference (depending on age). 
  • If the child has any special needs. 
  • The roles the parents had before the divorce, such as if one parent was the main caretaker and the other was the main breadwinner. 
  • The parents’ desires. 
  • The living situations each parent can provide. 
  • Where the child goes to school. 
  • What other groups or activities the child is involved in, from friend groups to extracurricular activities.

The important thing for parents to remember is that they may not get exactly what they want out of the custody arrangement. A parent may want sole custody, but the court may determine that it would be better for the child if both parents shared custody. Parents need to know that the child’s interests have to come first. They also need to know what legal steps to take as they work through this process.

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