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What do the courts mean by 'best interests of the child?'


Throughout a divorce, if children are involved, you may hear the courts talk about and consider what they believe to be "the best interests of the children." Many decisions regarding child custody, child support and even property division, specifically concerning who stays in the house, could be made while keeping the best interests of the children in mind. So what exactly do they mean by that term?

When the courts are determining how to handle child custody among a divorcing couple, there are several factors that they take into consideration, any of which could be a deciding factor in their ultimate decision. The courts goal is to minimize the impact of the child with regards to changes that will inevitably occur during a divorce.

This means they will look at each parent's individual relationship with their children. This may include but is not limited to who does a majority of the child-rearing such as bathing, preparing meals, doing homework with the children and running errands and doing entertainment and social events with their children. Depending upon the age and maturity of the child, the courts may even interview the children to gather an opinion about the children and their relationship with their parents.

If you are in the process of a divorce, it is important to keep not only the child's best interests in mind, but your best interests as well. If you believe that you should be the custodial parent and your soon to be ex-spouse disagrees, it might be in your best interests to make sure you are well prepared in court before the child custody hearing. This may mean bring with you a strong team with experience and success handling family law in the courts. It could make all the difference in not only your life, but the life of your children as well.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Focusing on the 'Best Interests' of the Child," Accessed June 29, 2017

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