What Does “In the Best Interests of the Child” Mean?

In divorce, child custody, and child welfare cases, you will often hear the phrase “in the best interests of the child.” The best interests of the child are important considerations in these types of cases. When a court makes a decision, issues an order, or grants a relief in regards to the care and custody of a child, that child’s best interests are the predominate concern. But just what does “in the best interests of the child” mean, and how does the court make that decision?

In general, the best interests of the child are loosely defined under many jurisdictions as whatever is best for the child’s short-term and long-term health, safety, and well-being. Figuring out what is in the best interests of the child is a process. Many factors are considered, some of which will depend on what kind of action the court will take and under what jurisdiction the action is subject to. Common factors the judge will consider when making such a determination include:

  • The specific physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child
  • The ability of the parent(s) to provide for those needs
  • The safety and stability of the home environment
  • The relationship between the child and the parent(s)
  • Any presence of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect, and
  • The physical and mental health of the parent(s)

A Complex Decision

Figuring out what is in the best interests of the child may be up to the judge to decide, but the parent plays a big role, too. The parent may need to contribute information that can help the judge make the best decision. Speak with an experienced New Jersey child custody and child welfare attorney if you are involved in a case regarding the care and custody of your child. The information you can provide will help the court make the best decision. An attorney can advise you of your rights and how you can protect them in court. An attorney can also make sure the court receives all the relevant information that will help it make a decision that is truly in the best interests of your child. When fighting a custody battle, you will need an advocate on your side.

Navigating a child custody or child welfare case can be difficult, but the knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC have the experience needed to defend your rights as a parent and protect your child’s best interests. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 738-8404, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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