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What is the best interests of the child in child custody?

Because what is in the best interests of the child is the standard the family law court uses when making child custody determinations, it helps to be familiar with what factors impact the determination of what is in the best interests of the child. Parents may wonder what the best interests of the child refers to. It is something it is helpful for them to understand so that they can also remain focused on what is in the best interests of the child during the child custody process.

The best interests of the child standard is generally based on the child's needs and overall well-being. The factors used to determine what is in the best interests of the child vary by state but generally include some common factors that are considered. The family law court will look to parenting ability and if the parent is able to meet the child's physical and emotional needs. The physical and mental health of the parents is also considered.

The family law court also takes into account providing a consistent environment for the child when determining what is in their best interests. To do this, the court will evaluate living arrangements, routines and access to extended family members. The family law court always takes into account the safety of the child. The court will also consider the child's age when evaluating what child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. In doing so, that court will consider which parent has been the child's primary caregiver and the bonds between the child and parents.

When parents are familiar with what is meant by what is in the best interests of the child they can also stay focused on that shared goal so that the family law court's goals for child custody decisions and the goals of the parents are aligned. A shared focus on what is in the best interests of the child can help ensure the best custody arrangement possible is developed which is important to everyone.

Source: The Spruce, "Understand the 'Best Interests of the Child' Standard," Jennifer Wolf, Oct. 23, 2017

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