Nearly everyone has heard the phrase “best interests of the children”. This is the legal standard used by Courts across the country during divorce cases when issues about kids are involved. The idea is that when orders are entered that impact a child of divorce, the order will be what is “best” for the child. Not surprisingly, parties to a divorce have a different opinion about what is best for their kids so it can be confusing to understand what is included in this test. The ultimate decision is different in every case, because every case and every child is different, but there are some common themes that run throughout this legal standard and having an idea of what the Court will consider will help you to prepare for the case.
The “best interests of the child” test, as set forth in the state statutes, includes the five things:
- How each parent is able to provide for their kids including the financial emotional, and physical needs of the children. A good example of how this part of the test is used in real life is to look at whether a parent earns enough to provide basics for their kids, such as food and shelter. Another example would be to examine whether a parent is fit to provide the emotional support kids need.
- How old the kids are, and what their emotional needs are for their age. Being able to care for an infant is much different than being able to care for a teen child. Parents must be able to show they are able to tackle the issues their children face.
- The level of communication between the parents and whether it is civil is also important. A parent that is unable to maintain some level of civility with their ex may not be the best choice for primary custodian.
- As children age and mature them may express a preference of which parent to live with, and if that child expresses that preference the Court will take that into account when deciding what is best for the child.
- The bond already form between the child and parent, and how involved the parent is in the life of their child. For instance, if mom always takes the kids to soccer and cheers them on at every game then it would be best to implement parenting plans and enter orders that allow that activity to continue..
Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your case. We will help to make sure your children’s interests are protected while aggressively advocating for results that are satisfactory.
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