Child Custody and the Best Interests of the Child Standard

Child custody is one of those family law issues that is never truly resolved. Whether you are preparing for divorce, figuring out parenting time with your child’s other parent, or seeking to either obtain more parenting time or restrict your child’s other parent’s visitation, you are in for a potentially contentious battle. These confrontations arise, obviously, because each side holds different beliefs with regard to what they think is best for their children. However, when parents are unable to resolve these matters on their own, a judge will be left to decide child custody and visitation.

In these instances, a judge will base his or her decision on what is in the child’s best interests. To do so, a judge will look at a number of factors. If the child his old enough, a judge may take the child’s desires into consideration. Beyond that, though, a judge will look at factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s health, how a particular arrangement will affect the child’s schooling, the relationship between the child and others who live in each parent’s household, and which parent can best care for the child’s physical, emotional, and even cultural needs.

Since a judge knows very little about a family, and the child in question, before making this decision, it is imperative that you put forth evidence to show why your proposal is best for your child. This may come in the form of witness testimony and documentary evidence. However, instead of merely attacking the child’s other parent, your legal argument needs to focus on how your child’s best interests are furthered by the child custody and/or visitation arrangement you are seeking. Sometimes, of course, the two go hand-in-hand. For example, evidence of one parent’s drug use can be damaging to him or her, but also show that he or she is unfit to parent his or her child.

Custody and visitation battles can be charged with emotion. It can often become difficult to see through the cloud of negative animosity the parties have for one another. Yet, with the assistance of a qualified attorney, you can develop a sound legal strategy that best advocates for you and your child. If you want to learn more about how to do this, consider contacting a family law attorney of your choosing.

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