What Does the “Best Interests of the Child” Mean?

Family law

The law protects the interests of children in many ways, and one way is by setting standards for child custody arrangements. The standard in California is that the custody arrangement must be in the best interests of the child. This standard applies when:

  • Parents agree to custody arrangements, and the court reviews the proposal to ensure it is in the best interests of the child.
  • Parents cannot agree, so the court must issue a custody order for the parents.
  • One or both parents wants to modify child custody.

What does the court look for when ensuring custody is in the child’s best interests? Many factors can be weighed, depending on the circumstances. Some factors include:

  • The child’s needs, including special needs
  • Each parent’s ability to meet the needs of the child
  • Where each parent lives
  • The child’s ties to community, school, and other family members
  • Whether either parent has engaged in domestic abuse
  • Substance abuse or mental illness of a parent
  • Each parent’s ability to co-parent and encourage relationships with the other parent
  • The child’s preferences if they are old and/or mature enough to express them

The court gathers this information and bases its decision on these factors. When parents propose their own custody arrangement or modification, the court regularly approves it. This is especially true when parents have the help of a child custody lawyer who can ensure the proposed arrangement meets the best interests of the child standard.

Consult with a Murrieta Child Custody Attorney

Family judges will not issue custody orders that are not in the best interests of the child, and our Murrieta child custody lawyers at Furubotten Law can help you obtain the right child custody arrangement for you and your child. Contact us for a consultation about how we can help.

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