Child custody can be one of the most emotional aspects of a divorce. To help divorcing parents address their child custody concerns, it is helpful for them to be familiar with how child custody is determined.
Child custody is generally guided based on what is in the best interests of the child. Each child is different and each family is unique so what is best for each child will be different in each different setting and situation. The best interests of the child standard helps the family law court determine what child custody arrangement is best for the unique needs of each child. As divorcing couples sort through child custody, they are also encouraged to use the best interests of the child standard to help guide them.
The overall focus of the best interests of the child standard is the safety and well being of the child. Factors the family law court may consider when evaluating child custody and what is in the child’s best interest include the need for continuity in the child’s education, family life and community; the child’s relationship with any siblings; which parent is most likely to care for the child’s daily physical, emotional, developmental and educational needs; which parent is able to care for any special needs of the child; and which parent is likely to maintain a more loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child.
There are different types of child custody that will need to be addressed and different options available for different situations. Being prepared with how the child custody process works can be beneficial in a variety of ways for parents and families as they navigate child custody concerns.