Child custody is usually one of the most emotional subjects when a couple is going through the divorce or separation process. It can be overwhelming to imagine that you will not be spending all the time with your child, or that you will only see your child once or twice a week.
If you litigating a child custody matter, there is a pretty good chance you will come across the term “the best interest of the child.” The family court takes into account the child’s best interest when deciding how divorcing parents will share the custody of their child. But what exactly does it mean?
Here are some of the things the family court looks into when determining the best interest of the child.
The potential for child abuse
Every child deserves to grow up in a safe and secure environment that is devoid of all forms of abuse. Potential for abuse refers to the extent of the child’s vulnerability to physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse while in the custody of the parent. An example of “potential for abuse” would be a scenario where either parent is abusing alcohol and other substances. The court may consider such an environment potentially abusive for the child.
The emotional attachment between the child and the parents
Most parents get along pretty well with their children. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the child to lose emotional attachment with either parent. However, it is important to understand that lack of emotional attachment may not be the only factor used by the court when determining custody.
If a lack of emotional attachment comes up during the custody hearing, the court will be interested in establishing how this happened. Sometimes, the child may lose emotional attachment with the parent due to alienation. In this case, the court may rule against the alienating parent.
In any child custody hearing, the court takes the child’s best interest extremely seriously. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and the child’s interests during a custody case.