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What is the best interests of the child standard?

If you are facing concerns and challenges related to child custody, you may have heard the best interests of the child standard and wondered what it refers to. The best interests of the child refers to determining what child custody and visitation arrangement will be best for the child's emotional well-being, safety, development and overall happiness.

What is in the best interests of the child is the guiding consideration and focus of all child custody decisions. Though what is in the best interests of the child is the standard the family law court will use to determine the child custody arrangement that is best for the child, it is a consideration that parents should always take into account when negotiating child custody arrangements and agreements. In general, child custody arrangements that involve both parents are considered to be best for the child.

The family law court considers a variety of factors when determining what is in the best interests of the child. Factors the court may consider include the physical and mental health of the parents; if the child has any special needs and if the parents can meet those needs; the need for the child to have a continued and stable home environment; any adjustment to school and community that will be needed; opportunity for the child to interact with extended family members and grandparents; other children relevant to the child's custody arrangement; and the child's relationship with other members of the household.

In addition, the court will consider the age and sex of the child and wishes of the child depending on the child's age; religious and cultural considerations; the relationships in the household; and if there is any domestic, child or substance abuse in the home. Because child custody is such an important issue for both divorcing parents and for the child, it is worthwhile to fully understand the child custody process and be prepared for what to expect related to it.

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The Law Office of Robert M. Asbury
5731 Lyons View Pike
Suite 206
Knoxville, TN 37919

Phone: 865-909-7290
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