What is the “best interests of the child” standard?

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If you’re going through a divorce or separation with children, one of the biggest concerns is deciding who will get custody. It’s crucial to try to devise a custody arrangement outside of court. It’s always better for parents to agree together that best suits the needs of their family. However, if you cannot reach a custody agreement, then the court will decide instead. This means you will lose your say in the matter, and your parenting time could be limited. When the court decides who gets custody, their priority is the child’s best interests. While there’s no exact formula for this, judges have broad discretion to consider various factors to make the decision. As a parent, you should do everything you can to ensure your child’s best interests are preserved during your divorce. Please continue reading to learn how to provide for your child’s best interests during a divorce and how our competent Bristol County Child Custody Lawyers can help you today.

What factors will a judge consider when deciding custody?

In the U.S., all states have adopted a “best interest of the child” standard in disputed child custody cases. While every case is different, a judge will examine various factors tailored to the particular child in question and the case’s specific circumstances. The following are some examples of the most common factors that judges typically must take into account when determining the best interest of a child:

  • Each parent’s ability to meet the children’s needs
  • Each parent’s relationship with their children
  • Each parent’s relationship with their children before divorce
  • Each parent’s willingness to support each other’s relationship with their children
  • Each parent’s living arrangement
  • The distance between the parent’s primary residences
  • The child’s parental preference (if they are mature enough to make a decision based on sound reasoning)
  • Any history of abuse or neglect
  • Any other relevant factors

How can I ensure the best interests of my child during a divorce?

As a parent, it’s crucial to consider how to ensure your child’s best interests during a divorce. Taking necessary measures to safeguard your child’s best interests can maximize your chances of being awarded custody. Firstly, maintaining a solid relationship with your children is essential. The court often favors parents who spend the most time with their children. The parent who spends the most time with the children has a better chance of receiving custody since the child is more familiar with them. Therefore, you should remain active in your child’s life as they will benefit from this type of stability.

Furthermore, you should compromise and cooperate to the best of your ability. Don’t let your negative emotions about your ex cloud your judgment. You should always put your child’s needs first. You should refrain from speaking negatively about your ex in front of your children. Ultimately, there are numerous ways that you can ensure the best interests of your child during a divorce.

If you’re facing a custody battle, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined lawyer from The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C., who can help you fight to protect your child’s best interests.