When going through a divorce and child custody matter, you will probably hear the term “best interests of the child” many times. However, you may not fully understand what that means. Simply put, the best interests of a child means that all visitation and custody decisions are made with the goal of encouraging and ensuring the child will be happy, healthy and secure, and that he will live in a stable and loving environment.
The courts generally believe that it’s usually in the best interests of the child to maintain a loving relationship with both of his parents, but it can be challenging to promote such a relationship when the parents have a difficult time resolving the custody issue.
Factors that Determine “Best Interests”
Although certain situations make it hard to define the best interests of a child, generally the factors a court will consider include:
Wishes of the child, if he’s old enough to express such a desire.The physical and mental health of each parent.Cultural and religious considerations.Need for a stable home environment.Support and interaction with members of the child’s extended family.A Pattern of domestic violence or emotional abuse in the home.Use of drugs or alcohol by either parent.
In any custody battle, it’s best that you don’t lose sight at how important it is for your child to benefit from the result of this fight. The choices you or the court make will affect your child’s development and well-being for many years to come.
If you’re involved in a custody battle, contact us for legal representation.