A child custody dispute can leave your nerves frayed, which is completely understandable. After all, the outcome of one of these disagreements can shape your relationship with your child for years to come. That’s why it’s imperative that you do everything you can to present strong legal arguments when litigating a child custody issue, which means having a firm understanding of how the law assesses the child’s best interests.
The best interests determination
Before issuing a child custody determination, a court will be tasked with assessing what sort of arrangement is in the child’s best interests. This is a holistic analysis, and one which considers a whole host of factors. Each of the following can be taken into consideration by the court:
- Each parent’s financial stability
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The child’s specific needs
- The child’s preferences, if he or she is old enough
- Any history of parental substance abuse
- Any history of domestic violence
- The bond between the child and each parent
- The educational opportunities the child will receive with each parent
- Each parent’s parenting skills
These are just a few of the factors that can be taken into account, as the court is generally able to assess whatever characteristics it deems relevant to its determination.
What the best interests determination means for you
The focus in a child custody dispute is on the child. Therefore, you have to build your arguments based on what is best for your child. While that means showing how you best support your child’s best interests, it also means demonstrating how your child’s other parent’s proposed plan is less suitable.
You might have a lot of evidence to address these issues, which can make the matter rather complicated. That’s why it might be best for you to work closely with a skilled family law advocate who can help you develop the strategy that you need to protect your child and your relationship with him or her.