Custody Cases: What is in the Best Interest of the Child?

Family Lawyer

When courts are deciding what in the best interest of the child, they are determining what custody arrangement can provide the child with his or her needs the most. A judge may use a variety of factors to decide which parent is awarded custody. Parents who are fighting for sole custody, may want to get help from a family lawyer Tampa, FL relies on for insight and advice along the way. Battles over child custody can be emotionally difficult for parents to withstand alone. When preparing for the court hearing, parents may wonder what exactly it means when judges say they will choose based on what is the best interest of the child.

Q: What kind of evidence should I bring with me to the court hearing?

A: A judge may request that parents provide evidence that shows they are able to take care of the child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs. For example, a parent must show they can pay for things like food, shelter, proper fitted clothing, education and medical care, in addition to consistent loving support, and guidance. Both the parent’s mental and physical health may be a factor when determining child custody arrangements.

Q: What if my child is too young to choose who he or she would rather live with?

A: A court may factor in the preferences of the child, but only if he or she is of an appropriate age to do so. A child that is younger than pre-teen years, may not understand the depth of their decision until later in life. To have the child pick one over the other in the courtroom may be too emotionally triggering for parents. A judge may instead ask the child about who he or she would prefer to live with in a more private, casual setting.

Q: Is it possible that moving could be in the best interest of the child?

A: Relocating may or may not be what is beneficial for the child, depending on the situation. The judge is likely to deny a move request if the parent may be doing so as a way to limit the other parent’s ability to spend time with the child. A family court judge is probably going to frown upon a parent who is intentionally trying to keep a child away, or says negative things to pin the child against the other parent. Parents who are resentful or easily angered may want to do what they can to put these feelings aside.

Q: What can I do to show I want only the best life for my child?

A: You can show the court judge that you genuinely want was is for the betterment of your child, by showcasing how you have actively participated in his or her life. Whether this means being the parent to take him or her to the doctor, visit the dentist, attend sports games, or be a chaperon for school field trips. The judge will take into consideration how invested both parents have been in the child’s life thus far.

Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and child custody cases.