If you are getting a divorce or dealing with the custody of your kids, you will likely hear one phrase repeatedly. That phrase is this: the best interests of the child.
Although this phrase sounds merely like a way to describe an ideal situation for children, it has a deeper meaning in family law. Focusing on a child’s best interests is the standard by which judges in Tennessee make child custody decisions.
Factors considered by the courts
You may think courts only look at financial issues to determine the best interests of the child. Financial matters are crucial, but judges study several things when identifying what is best for the child. Some of the factors judges look at include:
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- The gender and age of the child
- The custody preferences of the child (when mature enough to contribute reasonably)
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Patterns of domestic violence (if any)
- Whether one or both parents have substance abuse issues
- Prior excessive discipline by one or both parents
- The capacity to provide a stable home environment
- Opportunities for kids to interact with extended family
Family law judges understand that every family is unique and that what works for some may fail for others. As such, they strive to accommodate the needs of all involved parties (kids and parents alike). In the end, however, you can count on the court to place the best interests of your children above all other considerations.
If you have concerns about child custody, learning more about Tennessee family law may improve the outcome of your case.