November 10, 2022

What Does Serving a Child’s Best Interests Mean in Child Custody?

Michigan couples who are getting divorced will hear many terms they might be relatively familiar with as the case moves forward. When child custody is being addressed or there is an outright dispute, the child’s “best interests” will come to the forefront.

While the term may sound self-explanatory, there are specific details that the sides should understand from the start. This is crucial because much of the child custody and parenting time determination hinges on what the court views as serving the child’s best interests.

Vital facts about the best interests of the child

According to state law, the court will assess many factors when assessing the child’s best interests. The care of the child will be paramount. That includes the parents providing love and affection, and establishing an emotional connection with the child. The court does not just look at whether this is part of the parent-child relationship. It also considers the parent’s capacity to provide this type of attention to the child.

The basics are always imperative. These include the child having proper clothing, a safe place to live, being taken to an adequate school, getting medical care, and other needs that might arise. The child might have set down roots in a specific community and it would hinder their development to move. This will be considered with custody. For example, if one parent is going to remain in a marital home, this could be a major part of the child’s interest in staying where they are comfortable.

Some children can express their desires. Often, this is connected to their age. However, maturity is the most important part of the court deciding whether to listen to the child’s preferences and give them weight. Parents will be expected to put aside any lingering negative feelings they have for the other parent and foster a positive relationship between them and the child if it is safe.

In family law cases, it is wise to have help

As this shows, the court will ask many questions and conduct an in-depth analysis to formulate a solution that focuses on the child’s needs. This must be expected as a family law case proceeds and child custody is in the balance. Parents must know their rights and try to show the court that they can put their child’s needs at the forefront. For these emotionally complex cases, it is critical to have experienced representation to serve the child’s needs.