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Defining a Child’s “Best Interests” in a Child Custody Case

When determining child custody, family courts examine several factors, which are collectively known as the best interests of a child. Generally, the involvement of both parents is considered within a child’s best interests. Therefore, both parties to show a willingness to cooperate with one another for the benefit of their children.

Understanding the Factors that Constitute a Child’s “Best Interests”

A child’s best interests encompass many different factors that are all largely geared toward facilitating a stable, loving, and healthy environment. If one parent is more capable of providing an environment that encapsulates these best interests, he or she is more likely to obtain custodial guardianship.

Below are some of the factors a judge will consider when determining child custody:

  • The physical and mental health of both parents
  • The special needs of the children
  • Cultural or religious considerations
  • Adjustments to the community or school
  • The support the children have from members of either parent’s extended family
  • Excessive use of discipline from either parent
  • Relationships the children have with other members of the household
  • If the child is old enough and mature enough, a judge might consider his or her preference
  • Evidence of domestic abuse or substance abuse
  • Any other factors a judge might deem relevant in determining custody

Keep in mind that, in most cases, no single factor will have more weight than another. Instead, a judge is looking at the overall picture and which parent can best serve the best interests of the children. Moreover, a judge will choose a custody arrangement that protects the children from too much disruption in their current routine. For example, if one parent continues to live in the family home, if he or she had custodial guardianship, it would allow the children to remain in their home and continue to attend the same school and maintain the same friendships. However, this factor alone is not enough to determine custody.

Demonstrating to the Court that You Have Your Children’s Best Interests at Heart

Proving that you have your children’s best interests at heart starts outside of the courtroom. Be involved in the lives of your children by helping them with their schoolwork, attending their afterschool activities, and exhibiting an overall interest in their upbringing. If you seem to have a lack of interest, it is unlikely a judge will favor you in a child custody arrangement.

Discuss Your Child Custody Case with One of Our Trusted Attorneys Today!

If you are fighting for child custody, you need to hire a fierce legal advocate to guide you through this complex legal process and protect your parental rights. At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., our top-rated team has the knowledge and insight to effectively represent you. We understand how emotionally trying this experience is and will do what is necessary to help you achieve the best possible results, so you can move forward and begin a new chapter in life.

Get started on your child custody case today and reach out to our law office at (727) 939-6113 to set up an initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

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