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Determining what is in a child’s best interests

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Family Law

During a divorce, if parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement themselves, the court may have to rule regarding child custody rights. This could include physical custody – or parenting time – and it could also include legal custody, which revolves around parents making key decisions for their children. 

Both types of custody can be divided by the court, and they do not have to be divided the same way. For instance, one parent could be given visitation options but no decision-making power. 

To divide these parental rights and set up a long-term parenting plan, the court will try to look at what would be in the child’s best interests. The child’s future has to come first. So how does the court make this determination?

Considering multiple factors

There are many different factors that the court is going to look at before issuing an order, a few of which include the following:

  • The child’s own wishes 
  • The parental roles during the marriage, such as who was the main breadwinner and who was the main caretaker
  • If the child has any health concerns or special needs 
  • The parents’ physical and mental health, as it relates to their ability to care for the child
  • Where each parent lives and what their living situation looks like 
  • Where the child goes to school 
  • What social groups the child is part of, such as sports teams or academic groups

Essentially, the court is just trying to make decisions that will provide some stability for the child, while – in most cases – maintaining a relationship with both parents. This can be a complicated process, so be sure you understand all of your legal options if you’re going through it.