While the laws may differ in fine detail in various states, there is one overriding principle that is followed in all cases. The principle that is followed is simple – do whatever is in the best interests of the child (or children). A child custody lawyer or judge will confirm this, as well as being able to clarify any local variations on the law.
How the “Best Interests” can be determined
The best interest will differ from family to family, as every divorce and custody case has its own specific circumstances that need to be weighed, but there are several things that will need to be considered to make that determination.
- Maintaining emotional stability for the child – a divorce or change in custody will be an emotional roller-coaster for everyone involved, especially children. This needs to be minimized to protect the well being of the child.
- The ability to provide for the child's physical care – how can food, shelter and clothing best be provided?
- The relationship between the child, parents, siblings and other family members – the courts will attempt to minimize a child's exposure to negative influences/relationships.
- Parental work schedules – courts prefer that children spend time with their parents, rather than in daycare facilities.
- Minimizing the child's exposure to harmful environments – domestic violence, criminal records or activity, and drug and alcohol abuse are things courts will want to avoid around the child.
- The child's age and developmental needs, and the ability to provide for these as the child matures.
- Minimizing the child's exposure to harmful parental conflicts – just as the court works towards the best interests of the child, so should the parents. Courts may impose rules for the parents to work from, to reduce issues.
Every case will be unique, but a child custody attorney will be able to guide you through the process and work towards the best resolution for everyone involved.If you're looking for an Okemos divorce lawyer to assist you in your case, contact the team at Bailey Smith Bailey today.