What Are the Best Interests of the Child?

If you are fighting for custody of your child, you may hear that the decision will be made in "the best interests of the child." Every parent wants what they believe is in their child's best interests? When it's left up to the courts to decide, it can be very nerve-wracking. It may help parents to understand what the court means when they say that they will decide custody in the best interests of the child, so that they can best evidence that they can provide the right care and love for that child.

First of all, the California courts will consider how a particular environment will affect a child's health and safety. For example, a father that is privy to getting drunk and becoming violent would not be a safe environment for a child. Likewise, a mother that smokes marijuana would not provide a healthy environment as the child would be breathing in second-hand fumes regularly. In non-divorce situations, the courts may not provide a father with visitation or custody if he fathered the child by raping his or her mother. Parents who have been convicted of a felony are normally not considered "safe" parents for the child. Habitual drug use or even prescription medication abuse can also be factors.

As well, the California laws allow a child who is mature enough to make an intelligent choice to express his or her own desire for custody. This means that the child may be able to request residency with one parent over another. California courts also consider which parent is more likely to encourage children to have a positive relationship with their other parent. If you want more information about the best interests of a child in divorce cases, then contact the firm today.