The best interests of children are the primary concerns of family courts nationwide, including in Massachusetts. However, it is not always clear how courts resolve these issues in child custody disputes. The specific facts are looked at in all cases, of course. Because each case is unique, many additional factors may also be considered.
A court typically focuses on the child’s specific needs and the mental and physical health of both parents. The child’s existing relationship with each parent is important. Further, criminal records and any prior evidence of domestic violence or abuse will be examined. The financial position and stability of each parent to provide food and shelter for the child is also relevant.
However, it does not necessarily follow that the parent who is stronger financially will be awarded child custody. In addition to the mentioned aspects, a family court may decide to consider additional factors that may be case specific. While many parents naturally consider the best interests of their children in negotiations during a divorce, it is not uncommon for those concerns to be overlooked when personal interests are considered.
Child custody negotiations are typically filled with the emotions of both parents, and it may be helpful to seek the advice of a skilled Massachusetts family law attorney. Such a professional will have extensive experience in guiding a divorcing parent through this process. A lawyer may also be able to arrange the services of a qualified divorce mediator to help parents negotiate a workable solution for child custody and a parenting plan that will serve the best interests of the child, while also accommodating the schedules of the parents.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorce Confidential: Children And The ‘Best Interests’ Standard“, Caroline Choi, Accessed on July 29, 2016