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The best interests of the child: What does it really mean?


The best interests of the child: What does it really mean?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2021 | family law |

Believe it or not, this is one of the clearest family law terms you may ever hear when getting divorced. It means what it says, and divorce judges rely on what is and what is not in a child’s best interests to make child custody and other decisions.

Even though the phrase is self-explanatory, parents in Houston, Texas, may not understand how judges decide what is in the best interests of the child. Uncovering what this term means and how courts use it to make custody decisions can improve your understanding of child-related divorce issues.

What factors determine a child’s best interests?

Before judges can determine if your custody plan is in the best interests of your child, they need to know more about your kids and your circumstances. They learn about these topics by looking at several different factors. Nine examples of these factors include:

  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • The child’s custody wishes (when old enough)
  • How each parent takes care of a child with special needs (when applicable)
  • Any pattern of domestic violence by either spouse
  • Whether either parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Ability to provide a stable home environment
  • The child’s age and gender
  • Possible use of excessive discipline
  • Cultural and religious considerations

A family court will also look at any other factors that are relevant to your unique situation. The goal of courts in child custody matters is to determine how best to keep children safe and physically and emotionally healthy.

If you have concerns about your child custody arrangement, consider learning more about state laws and regulations associated with custody.