Understanding the Best Interests of the Child in Custody Cases

In any custody case, the best interests of the child should be the top priority.

But what does that mean, exactly?

Ron Payne, CEO and managing partner at Apple Payne Law, explains that the standard is vague and gives judges a lot of leeway in determining what is best for the child. However, there are several factors that parents can consider to ensure that they present their case effectively to the judge.

If you need help navigating the complexities of your custody case, a Kernersville child custody lawyer can help!

Physical, Emotional, and Mental Health of the Parents

One of the most important factors that a judge considers when determining the best interests of the child is the physical, emotional, and mental health of each parent.
Stability is key to providing a safe and healthy environment for children. If one parent is unemployed, homeless, or has serious health issues, this may not be the best situation for a child. On the other hand, if both parents are stable, employed, and have a good home environment, the judge may be more confident that the child’s needs will be met.

Abilities of Each Parent to Meet the Needs of the Child

While financial resources can play a role, it’s important to note that having a lot of money doesn’t necessarily mean that a parent is better able to meet a child’s needs. The judge will determine whether each parent has a good roof over their head, can provide food and shelter, and can meet the child’s basic needs.

Relationship Between the Parents

Judges are wary of situations where one parent manipulates the child to turn them against the other. This can backfire and even result in a flip of child custody. Parents need to be mindful of what they say and how they interact with their children during a custody case.

Stability of the Home Environment

The stability of the home environment is another factor that judges consider when determining the child’s best interests.

Is the home safe and stable, or is there constant turmoil and drama?

Parents who engage in risky behavior such as excessive drinking or drug use may also be seen as unfit to provide a stable home environment for a child.

History of Abuse or Neglect

Any history of abuse or neglect by a parent will be taken seriously by the court. This includes physical abuse, neglect, or situations where a child is left hungry, unkempt, or dirty.

If there is any concern about abuse or neglect, it’s important to address it in court and ensure the child is safe.

Child’s Preference

As a child ages, their preference may be considered when determining custody.

At age 13, the child’s preference is entitled to some weight, although it may be minimal. By age 17, the child’s opinion may carry more weight.

Other Factors

Finally, judges may consider other factors impacting the child’s best interests. This broad standard can include any relevant information that may affect the child’s well-being.

Why You Need an Experienced Attorney

Given the complexity of these factors, it’s important to have an experienced attorney to help navigate custody cases. The family lawyers and legal team at Apple Payne Law have years of experience in family law cases and can help you make informed decisions about what’s best for your children.

Contact a Kernersville Family Lawyer Today

In any custody case, the child’s best interests should be the top priority. If you’re dealing with a custody case, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the child’s best interests.

By working with an experienced Kernersville family lawyer, you can navigate the complexities of the legal system and ensure that your child’s needs are met.

At Apple Payne Law, we’re here to help you navigate the important decisions that come with family law cases. Our team will support you whether you need help with a custody case or estate planning. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you and your family.

Author Bio

Ronald D. Payne II
Ronald D. Payne II is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Apple Payne Law, a North Carolina law firm he founded in 2018. With more than 11 years of experience practicing law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including business law, estate planning, family law, probate, and traffic law.

Ronald received his Juris Doctor from the Wake Forest University School of Law and is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded the 2020 Client’s Choice Award by Avvo and multiple Rising Star awards from Super Lawyers.

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