Most people are familiar with the idea that the "best interests of a child" are considered in custody cases. What they might not know is exactly what is considered in determining what is best for the child. If you are facing a custody battle, here is what you need to know about what is considered "best for a child."
What Does "Best Interests of a Child" Mean?
There is a common misconception that best interests of a child only refers to the economic stability a parent can provide. In actuality, it encompasses far more. In addition to assessing whether or not a parent is able to provide shelter, food, and clothing, the court also considers:
- The needs of the child, including emotional and physical health
- Whether or not domestic violence is in the home
- The emotional connection between the child and parents
- The emotional connection to other household members and family
- The child's wishes
There are many other factors a judge can consider when determining what type of custodial arrangement is best for the child. The factors can vary by state and even vary from court to court.
How Can You Prove Your Case?
If you're seeking custody of your child, you have the job of convincing the judge that naming you the custodial parent is in the best interest of the child. Unfortunately, this might not be an easy task. However, it is possible.
There are several ways you can make your case to the court. For instance, you can ask witnesses, such as friends, family, and teachers, to testify on your behalf. If your child has undergone treatment with a mental health therapist, asking him or her to testify is also beneficial.
You can also ask the court to appoint a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem is often called on to make recommendations about custody. He or she will observe the child's home life, talk to family and friends, and request assessments, if necessary.
One of the most important things to remember is your behavior could significantly impact the case. It is important that you act in a civil manner with the other parent. You also need to ensure he or she is able to communicate with you, when necessary.
If you and the other parent have a disagreement about the child, try to negotiate. This shows a commitment to co-parenting, which is important to raising your child. There are many other steps you can take to show the court that awarding custody to you is best for your child. Work with an experienced family lawyer, like one from Ritter & LeClere APC Attorneys At Law, to determine what you need to do.