Although there is no one standard definition for what is in a child’s best interests when the court determines custody, several factors often influence the final answer.
Learning more about these factors, which can range from physical safety to emotional ties, can help you during this process.
Strength of the bond
According to the Children’s Bureau, the judge typically looks at the strength of each parent’s bond to the child to determine the best course of action. Choosing the most secure and familiar bond can help a child adjust to his or her new familial life.
A positive influence and a stable home environment can help a child feel secure. Signs of abuse or possible neglect, such as drug usage or odd people frequently visiting the house, could worry the court.
Amount of change
Sometimes, the idea of moving across the state or changing schools can be daunting to children who are already going through a big life change. Therefore, judges typically like to keep the status quo whenever possible.
This sense of permanence can influence what custody choices happen. A child’s mental health and safety are the most important factors in any living situation, including during custody.
Willingness to cooperate
Making a pointed effort to keep in touch with your co-parent and nurture your child’s bond with him or her can reflect positively on you. Working with your ex-spouse and helping him or her to be a part of your child’s life is one way to strengthen that bond.
Knowing how to tell what is in the best interest of your child is important for any parent going through a divorce.