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What Do Family Courts Mean By The Best Interests Of The Child?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2022 | Family Law

When getting a divorce or fighting for your child custody rights, you will probably hear many phrases you might not understand. Family court judges use the term “the best interests of the child” when deciding where a child will live. They also use the phrase when determining which parent will give the child their primary home.

You might think you know what the phrase means, but it could mean something different to a judge. For example, the judge’s idea of your child’s best interests might not match your beliefs.

So, what does the term really mean?

Look at it this way. The judge wants the best for your kids just like you do. They receive training and education that helps them look beyond personal matters to identify the best available living arrangements for children of divorce.

Judges accomplish this by studying several factors relevant to you, your child and your co-parent. Examples of these factors include:

  • The wishes of both parents and the child
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • The relationship between the child and other relatives
  • Each party’s mental health, including the child’s
  • Any evidence of domestic violence involving either parent

The judge will use these factors and state child custody laws to decide the living arrangements that protect your child’s best interests. If you and your spouse already made a child custody plan, you cannot use it unless and until the court gives it a stamp of approval.

If you want to take some guesswork out of your final court order, try learning more about Indiana child custody laws. Such knowledge can also help you fight for the custody arrangements you want for your children.