Burke Levy, P.C.

Family law judge always puts best interests of the child first

If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, you may have mixed emotions. On the one hand, you might feel relieved about finally splitting up with your spouse. On the other hand, you may feel nervous about what this will mean for you and your children.

Child custody is oftentimes a major source of conflict for divorcing couples. However, when a family law judge makes a child custody decision, his or her main focus is on your children's best interests. Here is a glimpse at what the court means by best interests in Massachusetts.

To what exactly do the children's best interests refer?

When the court emphasizes your children's best interests during a child custody case, it is basically saying that its main goal is to foster and encourage your children's happiness and security. Your children's emotional development and mental health into adulthood may also be a concern of the court.

As a general rule of thumb, it is in the children's best interests to have loving and close connections with both Dad and Mom following the divorce. Of course, the practicality of promoting such relationships may be a major challenge during a child custody case.

What does the court look at when determining what is in the children's best interests?

The courts usually look at a number of factors when trying to determine what is best for your children following divorce. Here are some of the most critical factors taken into consideration:

  • Your children's wishes (if they are old enough to express their preferences in a reasonable way)
  • If your children have special needs, and if so, how you and the other party tackle these needs
  • Cultural and/or religious considerations
  • The children's interrelationships and interactions with other household members
  • The opportunity the children have to interact with extended family members, including grandparents
  • The children's adjustment to the community and school

The court will also look at your and the other party's physical and emotional health before determining who will get custody of the children. Ensuring that your children end up in stable home environments is paramount in the eyes of a family law judge. Of course, you have the right to fight for the most personally beneficial outcome, considering the circumstances surrounding your child custody case in Massachusetts.

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