The best interest of the child is a key legal standard used to determine child custody. During the divorce process, courts may consider many factors to determine what child custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child. Typically, an arrangement for joint child custody and shared parenting is preferred by the court when it is in the best interest of the child.
If joint custody isn’t possible, it’s usually assumed reasonable visitation with the noncustodial parent is also in the best interest of the child.
Typical Factors to Determine the Best Interest of the Child
Child’s age and health
Health of the parents
Stability and lifestyle of the parents
Child’s adjustment to the community and school
Parents’ ability to provide for the child’s needs
Relationship the child has with each parent
Any disabilities of the child or parents
Child’s preference, if he or she is an appropriate age to voice a preference
If the divorce court considers a child’s preference, it must decide whether the child’s preference is in his or her best interests.