The barometer by which a court makes decisions regarding child support, child custody, and child visitation matters typically revolves around a legal construct known as the “best interest of the child”. As a parent, you may feel that you have your child’s best interest in mind at all times. However, when there are disagreements between you and the other parent of your child, in some cases the court will have to make decisions regarding the physical, emotional, academic, or health of a child. In order to do this, the court will look to the standard called the “best interest of the child.”
Factors That Impact Child Custody Determinations
Courts will generally look at the current emotional and physical health of a child in order to determine what is in their best interest. Well the facts and circumstances of every divorce case are different, ultimately the court wants to ensure that children have a strong connection and relationship with both parents while simultaneously ensuring their emotional, academic, and physical health. The following are some factors that impact child custody, child support, and child visitation determinations, and how a court uses the best interest of the child standard to make these decisions.
- How does each parent ensure that the other parent has a strong and continuing relationship with the child? Does one parent intentionally prevent the other parent from seeing their child? Does one parent act unreasonably or fail to follow current parenting schedules?
- How will each parent care for the child both emotionally and financially for the child after the divorce? How much time will they spend with their child?
- How close is the child to other members of the family that live close, or in the same home?
- Does the parent take the considerations and needs of the child into account during life decisions?
- How long has the child lived in a stable environment? Does one parent want to remove them from that environment? Would that cause instability for the child?
- What would be most comfortable emotionally and physically for the child?
- What are the geographic locations of both parents? Will joint custody be feasible?
- Has any parent provided incorrect information to the courts at any time?
- What is the mental, physical and emotional fitness of both parents? Of the child?
- What is the current ability of a parent to provide for the child with respect to a consistent routine? What is their ability to ensure that they remain in their current academic or social activities?
- Has either parent received any kind of charge of domestic violence? Abuse? Child abuse? Sexual abuse?
- Has one parent manipulated the child in any way and attempted to get them to turn against the other parent?
- What is the preference of the child?
Courts will look at all of these factors when two parents cannot come to a final decision regarding child custody and visitation matters.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are going through a divorce or considering a divorce, your primary concern is likely regarding your children, and you will have the legal right to retain as much custody and visitation as possible. Contact an experienced family law attorney at The Blacknall Firm, so that you can ensure your rights to your children remain protected.