What sort of factors are part of a child’s “best interests” in a custody case?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2021 | Child Custody

When you ask the court how they decide what to do about child custody, they’ll assure you that the goal is to focus on the child’s best interests. The needs and desires of the parents come second. The kids are what matter most. 

But how do the courts actually decide what is best for the children? While every child does have a unique situation, what are some of the more common factors that they will weigh? 

10 major factors are often considered in custody cases

As noted, the exact considerations can be different in every situation, but here are 10 of the top things the court will look at:

  1. The child’s school and social life
  2. The parents’ mental health
  3. The child’s age
  4. The child’s gender
  5. The parents’ physical health
  6. Any evidence of wrongdoing, such as abuse or criminal activity
  7. The need for a healthy, stable home life
  8. What the child desires
  9. The child’s specific needs, if beyond the norm
  10. Any religious considerations or cultural issues

One important note is that the children’s wishes alone do not determine what happens. This is something many parents worry about, as they’re concerned their child will ask to live with the other parent. What your child asks the court for is only one factor, and it will only be considered if the child is old enough to understand what they’re asking and doesn’t seem to have been manipulated or coached into making that request. 

A complicated process

The child custody process can be complicated and it is exceedingly important. You must know about all of the legal options that you have and what steps to take to protect that precious parent-child relationship.