Defining the “Best Interests of the Child” Standard
Determining child custody is a multi-faceted area with many factors to consider. However, the main issue courts consider when determining child custody is the best interest of the child. There are many factors the court will look at in deciding what is in the best interest of the child and no one single factor is most important. A knowledgeable child custody lawyer will help you understand the factors in depth, explain the importance of the factors and present you in the most favorable way to the court. Our experience handling child custody cases helps us to demonstrate that custody in your favor is in the best interest of the child.
Factors the Court Will Consider in Determining the Best Interest of the Child
While a parent values their right to see their child, considering a parent’s rights is inconsistent with child custody laws in Maryland. The best interest of the child is the controlling rule of law. Child custody is generally made on a case by case basis of the best interests of the child. Factors that the court has included in making their determination include but is not limited to:
- Fitness of Parents
- What are the psychological and physical capacities of the parties? Is there any evidence of abuse by either party, the party’s partner, or any child residing within the party’s home?
- Primary Care Giver
- Which parent takes care of the child, feeds the child, gets them ready for school? Which parent does the child turn to when they get hurt?
- Character and Reputation of Each Parent
- Geographic Proximity of Parental Homes
- What is the distance between the parents’ homes? How close do they live to the child’s extended family members? Is one parent closer to the child’s school and social life?
- Length of Separation
- How long has the child been separated from the parent?
- Child Preference
- The wishes of the child may be considered based on the child’s age, intelligence and level of maturity.
- Relationship Established Between the Child and Each Parent
- Possibility of Maintaining Family Relationships
- Which party is best able to help maintain family relationships for the child? Who will be open and objective about allowing the child to speak with the other parent’s extended family?
- Financial Status of the Parents
- Which parent has the financial resources to best support and care for the child? What material opportunities does each parent afford that can affect the future of the child’s life?
- Age, Health and Sex of the Child
- History of Prior Abandonment or Surrender of Custody
- In the past, has either parent voluntarily walked out and left the other parent to cope solely with the child and home? During the last break up, which parent left the family home?
You Need a Dedicated, Knowledgeable Child Custody Attorney to Represent You
This is by no means an exhaustive list when considering the best interests of the child. By focusing on the child’s needs, it is possible to develop a child custody arrangement that benefits the child and parents as well. The devoted attorneys of the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, PA will advocate for you and your child. Contact our Glen Burnie and Columbia family law attorneys for a free consultation to obtain your preferred results in any child custody disputes. Let us focus on showcasing why you are the parent that is in the best interest of your child.