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The standard of the best interests of the child

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Parenting plans

When navigating divorce, feelings of sadness, anger and anxiety can overwhelm parents as they consider what this process may mean for their future. While it is certainly normal for parents to experience these things, it is also helpful to remember that children often experience the same emotions as well. Children often have a difficult time when their parents go through a divorce, which is why it is critical for parents to provide their children with the benefit and protection of a thoughtful custody and visitation order. 

Parenting plans and custody agreements should be crafted around the concept of the best interests of the child. This is a standard that places the needs of the child first, even over what the parents may want or feel in the moment. If you and the other parent are unable to come to an agreement on terms that are truly in the best interests of your children, you may have to go to court for a resolution on these matters.  

The issues that impact child custody orders 

Every child custody order is unique, specifically crafted to the needs of the individual family situation. This means that the court will take certain factors into consideration as they make a decision on how you will share parenting time with your ex and which one of you gets to make important decisions for your child. The court may ask the following questions when trying to make the best decisions for the children: 

  • Are there any allegations of abuse or neglect? 
  • How strong is the relationship the child has with his or her parent? 
  • Are both parents capable of providing stability and security? 
  • Do the children have any special medical needs? 
  • What are the most important cultural and religious considerations? 
  • What are the wishes of the child? 
  • How old are the children, and how is their mental health? 

Courts may also take into account how close the parents live to the kids’ school, how close the kids are to extended family members and factors that may be specific and unique to your family alone. The goal is to provide as much continuity of lifestyle as possible for the kids by providing them with the ability to have strong relationships with both of their parents. If you have concerns about your parental rights, you may benefit from seeking counsel regarding your legal options. 

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