Every child custody or visitation case in Anderson is governed by a legal standard known as the “best interests of the child.” Unlike many issues that can be resolved through an agreement between parties, decisions involving the wellbeing of children fall to the family court. Even if the parties agree on what it best for their children, a family court judge must approve of that agreement and ensure it is in the children’s best interests.
This is because the law prioritizes the interests of a child over the preferences of their parents. In some cases, both parents end up unhappy with a judge’s custody determination. An experienced custody attorney can help you understand what goes into determining the best interest of a child in Anderson.
Factors that Can Impact a Child’s Best Interests
Family court judges in Anderson must consider a list of factors outlined by state law to determine the best interests of a child in a given case. For example, the court will examine the child’s developmental needs, temperament, and even their preferences regarding custody.
Furthermore, while the court will consider the preferences of each parent, this is only one of the factors that go into determining what’s best for the child. In addition to their preference, the judge will also evaluate each parent’s capacity for providing for the child’s basic physical and emotional needs.
The behavior of each parent is also important. When determining a child’s best interests, judges in Anderson look for signs that a parent has been manipulative or abusive, such as when one parent makes disparaging remarks about the other or threatens loved ones.
Finally, perhaps the important question to answer in the determination of a child’s best interests is the fitness of each parent. A judge will carefully consider each parent’s ability and willingness to be actively involved in their child’s life as well as their physical proximity thereto.
How is Each Factor Investigated to Determine a Child’s Best Interests?
The process of determining a child’s best interests is similar from case to case. While this decision is ultimately made after a hearing where parents have an opportunity to present evidence of their ability, or the other person’s inability, to care for their child, there are steps each side must take before an Anderson court reaches a best interests determination.
For starters, the court will typically enter a temporary order addressing parenting time that remains in effect during the pendency of the custody dispute or divorce case. This temporary plan must also be in the child’s best interest.
During the hearing, a judge will select a third party to serve as the guardian ad litem for the child to ensure that there is a legal professional focused entirely on the child’s best interests. The guardian ad litem is tasked with investigating the facts of the case and advise the court on what the child’s best interests might be. This allows the court to gather information independent of the parents’ input.
Learn More about the “Best Interests of the Child” Standard from an Anderson Attorney
Understanding how a child’s best interests are determined in Anderson is the first step toward a reaching favorable outcome in your custody case. By working with the right attorney, you can ensure you have made the best case for an arrangement that you believe is in your child’s best interests. Reach out to a practiced family law attorney today to get started.