Knowing how to navigate their way through tough child custody issues is important for divorcing parents. Fortunately, they can call upon family law resources to help them understand how child custody arrangements are reached and what to expect as they navigate the process.
Child custody decisions are made based on what is in the best interests of the child. Divorcing couples may wonder what that is. What is in the best interests of the child varies by child and situation so a variety of factors are used by the family law courts to determine what is in the best interests of the child in any given situation. Parents negotiating child custody are also encouraged to focus on a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child.
Factors that are evaluated to determine what is in the best interests of the child include:
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of the child based on their age and maturity
- The child’s relationship with each of the parents
- The child’s relationships with siblings or other members of the household
- The child’s adjustment to any changes in home, school and community
- The mental and physical health of the child
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- The willingness of each of the parents to promote the child’s relationship with the other parent
- The willingness of the parents to cooperate with one another and make shared decisions
- The proximity of the homes of each of the parents
There is a lot to consider and take into account when contemplating a child custody arrangement. As a result, it is helpful to understand the best interests of the child standard used to guide these important decisions.