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What is the best interests of the child standard?

The best interests of the child standard is the standard followed by the family law court when making child custody decisions. Understanding what it is, and the factors that are considered to determine what are in the best interests of the child, is essential for parents facing child custody concerns.

Developing a child custody arrangement based on the best interests of the child focuses on a child custody arrangement that seeks to achieve the child's overall well-being, happiness, security, emotional development and happiness. Because each child and situation is different, the best interests of the child standard is applied with some discretion to help determine what child custody arrangement is best for each child. It is the same standards parents should focus on if they are developing a child custody arrangement.

A variety of factors are taken into account when determining what child custody arrangement is best for the child. Factors that may be evaluated by the family law court include the age and sex of the child and the wishes of the child when appropriate; any special needs of the child and the ability of each of the parents to meet those needs; the mental and physical health of each of the parents; custody of other children relevant to the child's own custody arrangement; interactions and relationships with other members of the household; and the opportunity for the child to enjoy support and interaction with extended family members. In addition, the family law court will evaluate the need for a continuous and stable home environment; any adjustments to school and community; religious and cultural considerations; and any history of abuse.

There is a long list of factors that may be examined by the family law court to determine what is in the best interests of the child because of how important and child custody arrangement that fosters, furthers and promotes the best interests of the child is. As such, it is helpful for parents to also be familiar with the details of the standard and how it impacts their child and child custody arrangement.

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Clinton Office
8808 Old Branch Avenue
P.O. Box 219
Clinton, MD 20735

Phone: 301-856-3030
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Dunkirk, MD 20754

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