What does the court consider to be a child’s best interests?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2022 | Custody |

One of the most frequently used terms in a California child custody dispute is “the best interests of the child.” The objective is always to make sure the child is in a good situation, has everything they need and maintains a relationship with both parents, provided it is safe to do so. Still, people might get confused as to exactly what best interests entails. Understanding the law and having experienced assistance can be helpful from the start of a case.

The key points of a child’s best interests in a custody case

The court will assess all relevant factors when making its determination, but there are some keys it will focus on. Of paramount importance are the child’s safety and well-being. If there was a history of abuse, then this will play a role in how the custody and visitation decision is handled. If both parents took an active role in the child’s life and provided a nurturing environment, this too will weigh heavily on how the custody decisions are navigated.

Regarding allegations of abuse, if there is anyone who was involved in the child’s life – a sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, cohabitant, new romantic relationship – this will be crucial when the court decides on its options. The court will need to corroborate allegations of abuse. That could include law enforcement reports, child protective services’ intervention, social welfare involvement, medical records and more.

Parents having regular contact with the child and its nature is also essential. The court will want to know if there are substance abuse issues. This too will require independent corroboration. When there have been allegations of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or substance abuse problems and the court grants joint custody or unsupervised visitation, it must explain why on the record and in writing. The court does not consider gender identity, sex, sexual orientation or gender expression in the context of best interests.

For all areas of family law, having assistance with the various terms is wise

Parents will want their children to have a positive transition after a divorce, but it can be complicated by disagreements over custody and visitation. From the beginning, it is imperative to be fully up to date on the law and know what the court looks at with such issues as the child’s best interests. In family law cases, it is vital to be protected and to have assistance. Contacting professionals in family law can help with knowing how to proceed and reaching a positive resolution.