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How parents can focus on the best interests of the child

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If you are currently in the midst of a child custody case, you have likely heard the phrase "the best interests of the child." This phrase has a lot of significance in a child custody case.

What this means is that every decision will be focused on encouraging and fostering the child's security, happiness, mental health and his or her emotional development. In most custody cases, it is in the child's best interest to have a loving, close relationship with both of the parents.

Parents are encouraged not to lose sight of this goal when making decisions regarding child custody or a parenting plan. Many times, it can be difficult to define what the best interest of the child is, but here are some common factors:

-- If the child is old enough to express which parent he or she wants to live with, these wishes should be considered.

-- Religious considerations

-- The physical and mental health of the parents

-- The need for a stable home

-- How the child interacts with other household members

-- How adjusted the child is to his or her school and community

-- Whether there is a history of domestic violence in the home

-- Whether there is evidence of child abuse, or drug or alcohol abuse

The goal is to ensure the child is safe and happy. If you cannot agree on a custody arrangement with the other parent, then the court will ultimately make the decision of custody for you. An attorney can help you show the court that what is in the best interest of the child is what you want as well.

Source: FindLaw, "Focusing on the "Best Interests" of the Child," accessed Nov. 04, 2016

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