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“In the best interest of your child”: What does it mean?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Family Law |

If you are going through a divorce with a kid, the judge will make custody decisions in the child’s best interest. But what does this mean? 

Here is what to know about the best interest of your child:

Common factors a judge considers

Before giving a child custody order, the judge handling your case will consider:

  • Your child’s age and health. If your child is younger or has health issues that require close attention, your parenting plan may not be split equally. Your child may spend more time in one home. Further, according to Family Code § 3042,  if your child is “of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation,” their wishes may be considered when granting custody.
  • Emotional ties between the parents and the child. While your child has a bond with both of you, they may have a different attachment to the parent who has been the primary caretaker. And a judge will take this into account. 
  • The child’s ties to their current school, home, and community.
  • The ability of each parent to care for the child. How is each parent financially and physically able to take care of the child?
  • Any history of family violence. If your marriage involved domestic violence, the court will obtain more information to protect the child.
  • Any regular and ongoing substance abuse by either parent. To make child custody determinations, a judge will want to know if either parent’s ability to provide the child with adequate care can be affected by the use of drugs. 

What can you do?

All child custody decisions are based on what’s in your child’s best interests. Learning more about your case can help protect your parental rights.  


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