How does the court determine the best interests of a child?

During any child custody case, the court examines multiple elements of your life and relationship with your child in order to determine what arrangement is in your child’s best interest.

The safety, welfare and social health of your child takes precedence over your own personal wants or opinions.

Health and safety issues

According to California Legislature, a safe environment is one of the most important factors that the judge looks at when determining custody. Persistent use of illegal substances or excessive drinking can put your child in danger.

The judge also looks at who is living in the residence with you at the time and their connection to the child, such as whether they are extended family or strangers. In some situations, a child needs special accommodations or help that only one parent can provide, which can influence the outcome of the case.

Social support

Making a child change schools or houses after a divorce can majorly disrupt his or her life. Courts take into account how stable each familial arrangement is and the opportunities the child has for social interaction, as well as how close the children are to their community. Places of worship or other activities your children attend may prove to be important enough to influence the custody arrangement.

Personal wishes

If the children are old enough, they may be able to state what place they prefer to live during the process. The best interests of your child do not depend on not just one factor, but a collection of many, which means that the child’s personal wishes can sway the final decision.

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