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What best interests of the child means in custody cases

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2022 | Child Custody |

Divorced parents in Michigan need to understand how courts work when determining child custody. One of the major factors involves the standard of what’s in the best interests of the child.

Best interests of the child standard

The standard “best interests of the child” is used in Michigan and other states when parents are vying for custody. Above all else, the family court wants to ensure that the child will be physically, emotionally and mentally safe when an arrangement is made regarding custody. Parents who are anticipating a decision on child custody can state their case to the court to prove they are fit to have their child.

How parents can prove parental fitness

Parents can do their part to show the judge that they are fit and that having custody would be in their child’s best interests. Keeping a journal that details all of the parental duties you perform can help. You should also show a list of all the expenses you have paid for your child toward their education, extracurricular activities, clothing and other necessities.

Presenting a detailed proposed parenting plan to the court shows that you take your child’s care seriously and shows that you want to work with your former spouse. A visitation schedule can also be provided to your former spouse and the judge.

What the court considers in custody cases

The court considers various factors in the best interests standard. In addition to parental fitness, that includes who the primary parent is, the child’s age, the relationship between the child and both parents and the child’s physical and mental health needs. Also considered are potential issues such as criminal history, substance use disorder or domestic or child abuse.

The child’s best interests are always the main focus in child custody cases. Being prepared in your case could help.