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What do the best interests of the children mean in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2022 | Child Custody and Visitation

You have often heard that courts always consider the children’s best interests when deciding on family affairs. But, what exactly are these interests? 

When a couple decides to divorce, the children may end up bearing the brunt of the split. Think about shuffling between two households or having to relocate to a new neighborhood and no longer spend time with both parents as was the case. The courts prioritize their interests since such drastic family changes will likely affect them mentally and emotionally, yet they had nothing to do with the divorce.

Several factors are considered

While there is no standard definition, the courts consider a child’s best interests as any actions best suited to serve and take care of the child. These may include:

  • Their health and safety
  • Their emotional ties and relationship with either parent
  • The ability of the parent to nurture, protect and care for them
  • The environment they are brought up in
  • The participation of both parents in the child’s upbringing, among others

What does it mean for you?

The children’s best interests significantly impact the decisions the court will make surrounding child custody or support. Even then, such decisions are not permanent, and they may change if it is ascertained that the children’s welfare is at risk. For instance, if the custodial parent starts abusing drugs, the courts may modify the custody orders and have the children move in with the other parent.

As a parent, you want the best for your children, which is why you need to know the steps to take in protecting their safety. This includes their physical and emotional wellbeing, which you should always be on the lookout for as a co-parent. The sooner you take action after realizing something is wrong, the better.