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How do courts decide what is in a child’s best interests?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | Child Custody

Some couples are able to work together when it comes to child custody decisions. They may even create a custody schedule, and then the court can approve it. This helps the process go relatively smoothly, and the parents can divide both physical and legal custody.

However, there are also many cases in which couples cannot work together, even on child-related issues. An example would be if both people wanted sole custody. The court will have to step in and make a decision, issuing a custody order. While doing this, the court’s stated goal is to focus on the best interests of the child. How do they know what this looks like?

Examining a variety of factors

There is no specific formula that will apply to every case. Each case is unique and must be considered individually. To do this, the court will look at factors like:

  • The parents’ physical and mental health
  • If the child has any special needs
  • The roles each parent had before the divorce
  • If the child has a specific preference about custody
  • If there’s a history of criminal activity or abuse
  • Where the child goes to school
  • If there are any religious considerations or cultural issues
  • What living accommodations each parent can provide

These are just some examples. There are many other potential factors that may go into this decision. The court just tries to gather as much information as possible and then makes a decision that puts the child first.

Going through this process can be complex. Those who are doing so must be well aware of their legal options.