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What does the child’s best interests mean?

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2023 | Family Law

The child’s best interests is a term you may have heard if you are a parent divorcing or entering a custody process.

While you could probably give an answer if asked what it means, it does not mean you will be right. The court’s definition of this is often very different from a parent’s.

Most parents are somewhat biased

In any court situation seeking a resolution between two parties, in this case, you and the other parent, it is natural that each party holds a slightly different view. Both you and the other parent may believe you can offer certain advantages to the child that the other parent cannot.

The court is a neutral party that puts the child’s interests first, not the parents

The court works from the starting point that both parents are equally important to a child and that having them both continue to play a role in the child’s upbringing is of equal importance. Then, it will consider factors that suggest it should deviate from that standard.

A court will do its best to look at each argument you present in the overall context. So, while it may agree that taking the child to move closer to your parents in another state could be beneficial because it allows you to call on them for free childcare, it may decide the disruption caused by moving the child away from their current school and friends as well as their other parent means the move is not in the child’s best interests.

It can be hard to decide what is really in the child’s best interests because it may conflict with what is in your best interests. Getting outside help at this emotional time can help you to make the sort of reasoned decisions about custody that a court would aim to take if you cannot reach an agreement between yourselves.