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How does the court determine a child’s best interests?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | Child Custody

When a court has to make a ruling about parenting time, decision-making abilities and the other legal rights of parents after a divorce, the court will try to rule with the child’s best interests in mind. This means that parents are sometimes unhappy with the outcome. But the court is putting the child first in this scenario, and making a ruling that will be best for them.

Naturally, this leads to the following question: How does the court know what is best for the child? Parents may certainly be concerned that the court is going to make a legal ruling, but they feel like they know their child better than the court ever could.

Considering multiple factors

To get over this hurdle, the court will look at numerous different factors and weigh them all. They are not making such a fundamental decision based on just one or two details. They will look at things like:

  • The parents’ physical and mental health
  • The parents’ age
  • The child’s age
  • The relationships between the parents and the child
  • The roles of extended family members
  • Any social or cultural considerations
  • The standard of living both parents enjoy
  • Any other major financial considerations
  • The child’s own desires and wishes
  • The parental roles the parents had before the divorce
  • If the child has any special needs
  • Where the child goes to school

Essentially, the court is trying to get a comprehensive view of the child’s life and then make a ruling that will help them have the most stability and the best possible outcome after the divorce. This may not necessarily line up with what the parents would want, however, so it can be a complex and sometimes contentious process. Parents certainly need to know about all of their legal options.