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What does “the best interests of the child” mean?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Child Custody |

Custody cases center around the best interests of the child. This is the single most important factor that the court will consider.

Nonetheless, defining what is in the child’s best interest can be challenging. Every child is different and so too are their relationships with their parents. Custody disputes often arise because parents cannot agree on what is in the best interests of the child.

When the family court comes to a ruling based on the best interests of the child, what reasoning do they use?

Safety and security

One of the first aspects that the court will consider is the safety of the child. If there is any evidence of a safety risk, then the court will factor this into their ruling. For example, if a parent has issues with substance abuse or domestic violence, the court will take this into consideration.

The specific needs of the child

As mentioned, the needs of every child are different. In some cases, a child may have very specific needs. For example, if the child has mental or physical health conditions, these may require a very specific routine. Any custody arrangement will need to consider these specific needs so that the best interests of the child are met.

Who has cared for the child so far?

A court will also consider what options will provide the most stability for the child. So, if one parent has been the primary caregiver, the court might believe that continuing this way will be a good thing.

The best interests of the child can be a contentious subject. As a parent in a custody case, it is important to seek legal guidance to ensure that your child’s needs are met.