You’ve likely heard that the court focuses on the child’s best interests in a divorce case, as they decide how custody should be arranged. They do this in cases where the parents cannot agree to custody on their own, but the court simply wants to do what is best for the children — and not necessarily for the parents.
With that in mind, it’s important to understand exactly what your child’s “best interests” are and what the court is going to consider.
The child’s happiness and well-being are critical matters
In some ways, the happiness of the child is the main goal. That doesn’t mean superficial happiness — such as a child wanting to live with only his father because he earns more money or buys more presents — but general well-being. It includes things like positive emotional development, mental health and security.
The child’s own wishes do play a role here, especially for older children. The court may also consider who the primary caretaker is, how they can keep most of the child’s routines if the child has any special needs, the role of extended family members, and much more. Often, the goal is to avoid as many major changes as possible. For instance, if living with one parent allows the child to stay in the same school system, with their friends and teachers, that can be seen as in their best interests, even when it may slightly limit time with the other parent.
Let an experienced attorney look at your case
If you’re getting divorced or trying to sort out a complex custody arrangement, it can help to have an experienced law firm on your side during the case.