Divorce and How to Respect the Best Interests of Your Child

Putting children first when divorcing is a good overall goal, and divorcing parents will find that sentiment echoed by several provisions. The family court system places a high priority on the protection and care of minor children. Sometimes, to the befuddlement of the parents, the needs and wants of the parents play little to no part in the decisions about the children. Understanding how to address a child's needs rather than your own when divorcing is vital, so read on to find out more.

What Issues Affect the Best Interest of the Child?

Each family situation is unique, and what is best for one child may not be the same for another child. You can best address this issue by reviewing the below areas of concern that could apply to children of divorce.

  1. Parental fitness – If child custody is in contention, you may find you and your spouse being examined in uncomfortably intimate detail. The way you discipline your child, the way you speak to your child, your educational choices, and more can come under the microscope. Domestic and child abuse, substance abuse, criminal behavior, and other aspects known to be detrimental to a child are examined. Unfortunately, an innocent spouse who goes along with the bad behavior of a spouse may not be viewed as entirely innocent when it comes to doing what is best for the child in the eyes of the family court judge.
  2. Parenting attitudes – Unless you have convincing proof that your spouse is unfit to have custody of or to visit with your child, you will find that the courts place a very high priority on preserving child-parent relationships after a divorce. In other words, if you allow your negative feelings toward your spouse to go against the court's natural desire for the child to spend an adequate amount of time with both parents, you might be judged unfit to parent.
  3. Home environment – Some home situations are judged to be more preferential than others. The parent who gets the family home may have a child custody boost also, for example, since it presents stability and security for a child. Other influences include the presence of half-siblings in the home, neighborhood schools, doctors, and familiar daycare situations.
  4. Family situations – Children who are accustomed to spending time with half-siblings may be unnecessarily traumatized by a separation. Additionally, the courts may take into account grandparent/grandchild relationships, particularly when one parent plans to move away with the child.

The above issues are only the beginning of the complexities encountered when dealing with child custody choices. Speak to your divorce lawyer to learn more.