Deciding what’s in the best interests of the child

When a couple calls it quits on the marriage, one of the most important things to take into consideration is the issue of child custody. Of course, both parents want what’s in the best interests of the child, but they usually disagree on what that actually means. Whether you are sitting down together as a splitting couple and trying to work things out or you’re in court battling over these issues, it’s important to remember that the children are the victims here. Whatever can be done to ease their transition should be the overarching focus in deciding custody and visitation.

So, how do you figure out what is in the best interests of the child? Here are some questions to ask that will help guide you to a decision:

  • What does the child want? If the child is old enough to express his or her desire in the matter, make sure to take that into consideration.
  • What is the physical and mental state of both parents?
  • Is there a religious or cultural factor that would make one parent the better custodial parent?
  • Would continuing in the same home provide a much-needed stability?
  • Is one parent closer to grandparents and other extended family?
  • Would the child have to move away from school and friends?
  • Has one parent shown a pattern of physical or emotional abuse?
  • Has one parent shown a history of drug or alcohol abuse?

Family law attorneys are well versed in these areas and can be an invaluable resource when determining what would be best for the child.