Parents in California who are in the middle of a child custody case may counter numerous challenges with the process; however, both parties should ensure the children are in as good a situation as possible. In a perfect world, the parents may be able to negotiate and come to an agreement, but if this isn’t feasible, the court will make a ruling about what’s best for the child.
What is a child’s best interest?
Family law looks at a child’s best interest as maximizing the chances of that child growing up successfully and happily. Several elements go into this, including a child’s security (both financial, safety and otherwise), happiness, health (both physical and mental) and emotional development.
Factors courts frequently examine
When evaluating a child custody case, courts tend to focus on certain current areas in the child’s relationship with their parents and the life they would potentially be living. These typically include:
- Stability and security, which includes financial concerns
- Any red flags within the home environment, such as drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse or physical/mental health issues with either parent
- If the child has special needs, along with the ability of each parent to properly care for and support those needs
- Continuity in the child’s life, like remaining in the same school or activities
- The child’s ability to continue to interact with siblings or other family members
- What the child wants to do, if the child is of a certain age
Being able to make a strong case that it’s in the child’s best interest to be with you can go a long way toward the court seriously considering your request. Research, plan and have all the proper facts and paperwork in order beforehand.