During a divorce case, you might hear about making decisions in the best interests of your children. This simple factor could influence child support, child custody, visitation, and more as you and your attorney work toward an outcome for your divorce case.
So, what does the “best interest of the child” mean? Take a look at some elements that could affect your child’s best interests.
Understanding “Best Interests”
The best interests of the child or children means ensuring that decisions meet the child’s needs. The court could examine several key factors to determine whether a decision is in the child’s best interests.
Emotional wellness and mental health are key elements parents must consider when making custody or visitation decisions that are in the best interests of their children. For example, the court might weight a factor in favor of a parent who is able to provide a stable, consistent environment and support for the children over one who is unable to.
Judges are not likely to weight a factor of one parent simply because they have more money than the other. However, they might closely examine physical security and health, including whether a parent could adequately provide for their children.
Physical wellness might include lodging, childcare, and food. Attorneys and child advocates could help parents determine the best interests of their children regarding physical wellness, including whether both parents are able to provide those essential elements.
Attachment security is crucial for a child’s well-being. Children often form a strong attachment to a primary caregiver, and the court might try to avoid separating children from a parent they have a deep sense of attachment to.
This could mean ensuring that both parents have parenting time or visitation rights or avoiding separating the children from their siblings unnecessarily. Creating a deep sense of security for children is a critical component of meeting their best interests.
Relationships with Parents
Increasingly, research shows how a child’s relationship with their parents might affect their mental and emotional wellness later in life. Having a relationship with both parents could help children to experience the maximum benefit.
However, parents might struggle to prioritize the relationship between their child and the other parent during divorce. The court could help lay the grounds for that relationship, including granting parenting time for both parents or splitting custody.
Factors That Influence the Child’s Best Interests
Many factors could influence whether a decision is in a child’s best interests. Parents might need to consider:
- The bonds the children have with their siblings
- The physical and mental health of both the children and parents
- Wishes the child expresses if they are old enough to give their own opinion
- The children’s bonds with their parents, including whether one parent has been the primary caretaker
- The children’s connection to their school or local community, especially if one parent intends to move away from that area
- Whether one parent is facing domestic violence charges, has tried to coerce a child or children, or is otherwise negatively influencing the divorce or custody proceedings
The court might also consider anything specific to your child or your case.
Contact Our Child Custody Attorneys for Help
Just what does the “best interest of the child” mean? It looks different for each family. Carefully evaluating all the elements that might influence the best interests of your children could have a big impact on how you decide to move forward with your divorce case.
At The Capital Family and Divorce Law Group, we help our clients evaluate the best interests of their children and fight to protect those interests. Contact us today to learn more about our legal services and how we could help with your child custody case.