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Determining best interests in a child custody case

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2022 | Divorce |

Many Mississippi parents are currently preparing for a divorce, and their children’s well-being is undoubtedly a priority issue. What happens when parents disagree? In all child custody matters, the court’s focus in the decision-making process is the well-being of children.

If a parent makes a specific request, such as wanting sole custody of children, the court will take certain factors into consideration to determine what is best for the children in that case. “Age” is one of the most basic factors of consideration for child custody decisions. Each child’s needs are unique, and “age” is an important issue when determining what’s best for a particular child in a divorce.

List of additional issues to help determine “best interests”

It’s generally believed that children fare best in a divorce when they spend time with each of their parents. However, that’s not always what’s best in a particular case. The following list includes several more factors the court may consider before making a child custody decision:

  • What type of daily routine are the children accustomed to?
  • How much will a specific decision/arrangement disrupt that routine?
  • Will changing a certain routine have a negative or positive impact on the kids?
  • How fit is each parent for custody?
  • Are there any safety risks or concerns?

Children’s safety is always a top priority in child custody cases. If a parent believes children are at risk in the presence of their other parent, the matter may be brought to the court’s attention. The parent making the request must provide evidence to substantiate the claim.

Parental conflict versus parental cooperation

Children who are constantly exposed to parental conflict in a divorce often have a more difficult time coping than kids whose parents are able to cooperate for their sake. It is understandable that protecting parental rights and children’s best interests are primary concerns. It is helpful to plant a hedge of support around children at the start to have friends, family members, teachers, counselors and, perhaps, legal advocates on-hand, who are willing to step in and assist a concerned parent and children as they carve out a new family routine after divorce.