Defining the “Best Interests” of a Child in Custody Disputes

child custody attorneysIt’s something you’ve likely heard time after time: when it comes to child custody disputes, the courts in California will always place the best interests of the child above everything else. So what exactly does this mean? We at the R&S Law Group, LLP thought it would be a good time to break this down in a blog post. Remember that these are general guidelines, and no two cases are the same. For more tailored advice, we advise you to reach out to us directly at the R&S Law Group, LLP.

Courts Aim To Minimize the Impact on Children

Parents and the courts have one mutual goal: they want children to grow up happy in a safe and healthy environment that fosters emotional development and allows for healthy relationships. Separation and divorce don’t make this impossible, and are sometimes important in moving forward to a better place. That said, change is still change and children are especially vulnerable to such major shifts.

This change will be inevitable, so courts will focus on minimizing the overall impact and ensuring that their environment remains safe and healthy. They will scrutinize the child’s current living arrangements, primary caregivers, places of residence, and more.

To put it simply, when seeking to protect the best interests of a child, the courts look at factors such as:

  • The age and overall health of the child
  • Any individual preference the child might have (if he/she is old enough to express it)
  • The mental and physical health of both parents
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs
  • The child’s relationship with other individuals in the household
  • Religious and/or cultural considerations
  • Special needs that the child may have
  • Signs of domestic violence or abuse in either household
  • Signs of drug, alcohol, or child abuse (including sexual abuse)

This is not an exhaustive list. Remember, the court’s decision will ultimately be based on any and all factors that relate to circumstances that influence a child’s safety and happiness above everything else. Every family is unique and each individual case varies so different factors will come into play depending on your specific circumstances.

When Dealing with Child Custody Disputes, Count on a Skilled Family Law Attorney

If you are facing divorce or dealing with any matter relating to child custody disputes in California, you need to reach out to a reputable legal professional, someone who can advocate on your behalf and protect your  interests, as well as those of your loved ones. To learn more about how we at the R&S Law Group, LLP can help, call our offices at your earliest convenience.