Understanding “Best Interest of the Child” Standard

September 21, 2022

Understanding “Best Interest of the Child” Standard

During the divorce process, one of your top concerns may involve the custody of your children. Many components go into child custody decisions, but the primary goal in custody determinations according to family courts always centers on the “best interest of the child.” There are many elements that play into this standard, but the court usually attempts to award joint physical and legal custody to both parents, to allow a continued connection in both parent-child relationships. Only in extreme cases will one parent be given sole physical or legal custody of the child, but after reviewing the circumstances of the child and each parent’s capacity to parent, a custody decision will be based on what will ultimately be in the best interest of the child. If you are concerned about how the best interest of the child standard may impact your parental custody rights, consider visiting with the experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group at (720) 463-4333, or through Text-to-Chat at (720) 730-4558 today.

Best Interest of the Child

Focusing on the child’s best interest means that decisions made regarding custody and visitation have the ultimate goal of the child’s happiness, security, and emotional and mental development into young adulthood. Other factors involved in determining a child’s best interest include his or her care, protection, safety, as well as the child’s specific academic, emotional, or physical needs.

Usually, it is in the child’s best interest to safeguard a close and loving relationship with both parents, but this is often difficult to achieve when it comes to custody arrangements. In any custody dispute, it is critical to make your focus always in the best interest of the child. The choices made now, by you or by the court, will affect your child’s life in many ways. Whatever is decided will affect their development as well as their long-term relationship with you.

Custody Factors

While the term “best interest of the child” may seem somewhat subjective, there are several factors that a court may consider when making a decision involving parental custody and visitation rights. In custody decisions, the court may weigh many of the following considerations.

Parenting Ability

While every parent may love their child, they may not be able to provide the best environment for them. Consider the following questions:

  • Does a parent support the other parent in building the parent-child relationship?
  • Does a parent behave in a responsible manner?
  • Does the parent follow the visitation schedule during the divorce process?
  • Does the parent have the emotional maturity to support the child’s needs above their own?
  • Does a parent have the ability to shield the child from the ongoing litigation by not discussing custody or other matters with the child?

Safety

Safety is a priority for all children, and the Colorado courts take this very seriously. Consider the following questions:

  • Has there been any evidence of child abuse, neglect, or emotional or physical abuse?
  • Is there any evidence of violence towards the child, the other parent, or any other person?
  • Is there a history of violence or felony convictions?

Routine and Consistency

Routine and consistency are important for any child’s life. Consider the following questions:

  • Where do both parents live in relation to one another? Will a joint custody plan be helpful or disruptive, based on the location of the parents?
  • Does a parent provide a stable routine for the child?
  • Which parent currently offers a more stable environment regarding family, activities, and education?
  • Where does the child currently attend school and activities?
  • Other Factors
  • What choices does the child prefer?
  • Is there any benefit in separating the child from one parent?

It is important to note that the court will not simply weigh one or two factors, but the judge will attempt to see the whole picture in light of the child’s best interests. Their determination is formulated after considering a multitude of questions related to the child’s circumstances and the parents’ capacity to provide a safe and happy home. If you have any questions regarding how these factors may impact your parental rights, contact the experienced family lawyers at Johnson Law Group to learn more.

You and Your Child’s Best Interest

A parent involved in a custody situation has the ongoing opportunity to show to the court that his or her child’s best interests are a top priority.  Demonstrating that you are actively involved in the child’s life and that you provide attentive, loving care is crucial. Staying involved in your child’s activities and education are important, as well as showing that you have the ability to nurture your child through the parenting decisions you make. The court looks approvingly on a parent who supports the other parent’s involvement as well, so improving communication and rebuilding trust with your ex-spouse can be an important part in building a strong custody arrangement.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney To Learn More About Your Legal Rights

Going through a divorce and a custody conflict can be a frustrating or scary situation. Having an experienced divorce attorney as an advocate can ensure that your legal rights are protected regarding your children. Contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Johnson Law Group at (720) 463-4333, or through Text-to-Chat at (720) 730-4558 today. You can also visit us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique situation. We look forward to learning more about you and helping you and your child during this challenging time.

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