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What are a child’s best interests?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Divorce and family law

You’ll often find it said that divorce courts try to address a child’s best interests. When making decisions for physical and legal custody, for example, the court is going to make the decision that is best for the child and for their future. The parents do factor in, but they do not necessarily come first. 

This sounds great in theory, but what factors are they actually looking at? What are the child’s best interests and how does the court quantify something like this when making decisions?

There are numerous factors

The truth is that there are a lot of different things that the court has to look at, and no two cases are the same. All children and parents have unique situations that are going to influence what would be best for the child at that time. Some of the factors include:

  • The child’s ties with extended family members
  • Keeping the child in the same school system
  • Who serves as the child’s main caretaker
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • The child’s health and any additional needs that they may have
  • The child’s own preferences any history of abuse or domestic violence
  • The health and safety of each parent’s living situation and their financial stability

Age may play a role in some of these factors. A younger child may be more likely to have a closer bond with their primary caretaker, for instance. An older child may have more say in where they want to live and their preferences may carry more weight.

The above can give you a few ideas of the things the court looks at, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Custody decisions can be very complicated, and it’s important for all parents to understand what legal options they have.