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When parents choose to divorce, the law requires that they reach a custody arrangement that outlines how they plan to care for their child, outlining their respective responsibilities and privileges as parents.

In general, courts prefer for parents to work together to reach an acceptable agreement, but the priorities of each parent are not the priorities of the court. Instead, courts focus on finding a custody arrangement that most benefits the child. Many courts insist that parents work together to provide for the child. So what impact does the best interests of a child play on the custody ruling?

If you anticipate divorce in your own life, or if your divorce is already underway, it is important to have a strong grasp of the issues a court considers when it makes custody rulings. Keeping these things in mind, you can craft a custody arrangement that meets your needs while keeping your child’s best interests at the forefront.

Factors affecting a child’s best interests

The most immediate concerns when creating a custody plan are the safety and care of a child. Your child may have specific needs, and courts must see that your custody arrangement meets them directly. If one or both parents pose a significant threat to the well-being of the child, the custody arrangement must reflect this.

Courts also consider the age of the child and the child’s wishes, depending on the strength of the child’s preferences and their ability to understand the issues at hand.

If the child has particular medical or mental health needs, or if they live with a disability, then a custody plan must take this into account. Often, caring for the needs of a child may mean that one parent receives primary custody, to ensure that the child has a stable environment for growth.

Parents may feel that this violates their parental rights, but courts tend to value the interests of the child over the rights or preferences of the parent.

Build your strategy today

As a parent, you understand how important it is to give your child a stable, healthy environment while they grow up. While divorce does present many complications, a strong strategy can help you assess your child’s needs and your own priorities while you work towards a fair resolution to your divorce.

Do not wait to begin building your divorce and custody strategy, to help you focus on building and maintaining a strong home for the child you love in the midst of a difficult season.