What are the best interests of the child?
You’ll hear it a lot in child custody cases in British Columbia: The court wants to rule with the best interests of the child in mind. But what does this really mean? What are the child’s best interests and how are they determined?
This is a very general term. Essentially, the court has to look at the means, needs, conditions and circumstances that the child finds himself or herself in. The court then tries to find the living situation that gives the child the very best situation, where needs can be met and living conditions are highest.
Again, this is fairly vague, but that’s just because every situation is so different. A few things that are considered include:
— The relationship that the child has with both the mother and father on their own.– What the child wants—if he or she has a preference regarding the custody agreement.– The child’s emotional needs and well being.– The ability of the parents to provide care, taking into account their schedules, physical abilities, health, mental states and more.– Whether or not there are other children; the court usually tries to keep kids together.– The income levels of both parents; this isn’t a deal breaker, but a gainfully employed parent may be able to provide better housing, food, clothing and other support than someone with no job.
The court does try to keep both parents involved in most cases, but the child’s best interests are always one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. If you’re going through a divorce, make sure you know how this legal process works.
Source: FindLaw, “Child custody — FAQ,” accessed Oct. 23, 2015
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