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What Is the Best Interests of the Child Standard and Why Does It Matter?

 Posted on February 17, 2023 in Divorce

novi child custody lawyerNot all child custody disputes can be resolved amicably. Sometimes, a history of domestic violence or mental health challenges renders a negotiation-based approach unworkable. Other times, parents simply have fundamentally different ideas about where their children should reside or how they should be raised.

Under these circumstances, the judge assigned to a particular child custody dispute will be called upon to decide how the matter should be resolved. In every state in the U.S., regardless of nuanced state law that applies to custody scenarios, judges are required to resolve contentious child custody questions by applying the “best interests of the child” standard.

Application of the Standard

This standard compels judges to consider – first and foremost – which competing argument would best serve an affected child’s interests. This is a noble aim. However, the standard itself is subjective. Each judge who reviews a child custody dispute is going to be influenced by their own conscious and subconscious biases about what children need and will benefit from.

The primary risk, therefore, in pursuing child custody litigation – as opposed to reaching a mutual agreement with your child’s co-parent regarding your child’s living arrangements and parenting time plan terms – is that you will leave your family’s fate in the hands of a judge whose interpretation of your child’s best interests may not mirror your own. As a result, if your child custody situation is contentious, you will need to speak with a lawyer about how best to present your case as uniquely addressing your child’s best interests.  

Conversely, if you hope to resolve your child custody dispute amicably, you will want to frame your decision-making as “how can we best meet our child’s needs and serve their best interests?”. That way, if negotiations break down and any part of your child custody arrangements or parenting time plan structure needs to be clarified by a judge, you will already have a strong foundation upon which to present your argument.

Contact an Oakland County Child Custody Lawyer for Personalized Guidance

If you are not sure how to construct an amicable child custody arrangement or parenting time plan that will clearly reflect your child’s best interests, the knowledgeable team of Farmington Hills, MI divorce lawyers at Elkouri Heath, PLC can help. Similarly, if you need to fight for an arrangement that reflects your child’s best interests, we can advocate on behalf of you and your child.

Under either circumstance, you can learn more about your rights and options – as well as our firm’s approach to legal representation – by scheduling a free child custody consultation with our team. To get started, you can call us at 248-344-9700 or you can connect with us via our website. We look forward to learning more about you, your child, and your legal needs at this time.



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