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What does the court mean by “child’s best interests?”

If we asked you to explain how certain legal processes go, you’d probably only be able to describe the ones you’ve encountered in your life, such as how to apply for a driver’s license or what happens when you are accused of committing a crime. This is to be expected, especially because most people don’t sit around learning about the law, unless you’re studying to become a lawyer of course.

Because most people don’t know every aspect of the law, it’s understandable that people will have questions when facing a new legal situation. With family law it’s no different. Thankfully though, people can turn to law firms like ours, where their questions will not only be answered, but they will be given legal advice that pertains to their specific situation. One such question that could come up is the one we’re asking in our post title:

What does the court mean by “child’s best interests?”

This question gets asked a lot with child custody cases and it’s easy to see why. The phrase “child’s best interest” may seem subjective to most, leaving a lot of parents wondering who makes this decision and what criteria is used. Let’s start with who makes this decision.

When a case for child custody is brought before the courts, a family law judge must take a number of things into consideration. In all cases, a judge must make a custody ruling that is in the best interest of the child. In order to do that, a judge may consider the finances of both parents, the likelihood of one parent allowing continued contact with the other parent, both parents’ work schedules, and what environment would offer the most stability, among other things.

So when the law says “the best interests of the child,” you can see it means a lot more than you probably imagined. This is why most people are encouraged to talk to a skilled attorney when a custody dispute arises. Lawyers at our firm know all of the criteria California judges consider when making custody determinations. They also know how devastating it can be for a parent to lose custody of their child, which is why we will work with all parties to make sure that the end custody result really is in the child’s best interest.