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How do courts define a child’s best interests?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Uncategorized

When parents divorce, one of the most important things that they need to settle is how they will split time and responsibility for their children. Modern-day courts use “the child’s best interests” as the principal guiding factor when parents can’t reach an agreement without judicial intervention.

While courts know and accept that occasionally, it is best if one parent plays no role in a child’s life, in the vast majority of cases, they want both parents to play a significant role in their child’s upbringing as such, courts generally presume that splitting custody and parenting time is a good idea.

Courts don’t need the parents to get on wonderfully to facilitate this kind of arrangement. They just expect them to take their responsibility to their children seriously enough to put their differences aside and put their children’s interests first.

Making a decision

Pretty much the only cases where a court will move to block one parent from a child’s life is where allowing them to stay involved will present a threat to the child’s safety.

With that said, the court will look at a whole host of factors to decide what time split will be best for the child. These can include:

  • The financial situation of each parent
  • The disruption a particular change or move would bring to the child’s current routine
  • The wider family context of each parent
  • The mental and physical health of each parent and its effect on their ability to parent
  • The child’s wishes (these are typically only considered in the case of older children)

Learning more about how a court defines a child’s best interests can help parents to form an informed, realistic strategy during divorce negotiations.