What does “best interest of the child” mean when deciding custody?

What does “best interest of the child” mean when deciding custody?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2021 | Child Custody

Divorce is challenging for everyone involved. Even when you feel like divorce is a wise and healthy choice, it can still be difficult to move from one chapter of your life to the next.

Often parents struggle the most with divorce since they need to think about how their child will move to the next part of their life. For some parents, it can be hard to figure out which parent will have custody and how you will share your parenting responsibilities for the foreseeable future.

Here’s what you should know about the “best interest of the child” standard in North Carolina and how it could impact your child custody arrangement.

Understanding the standard

In many cases, both parents want what is best for their child; however, they disagree on what “best” means. When North Carolina family courts look at child custody cases, they will consider factors, such as:

  • Child’s social needs
  • Parent’s living arrangements
  • Child’s schooling and activities
  • Parent-child relationships

Typically judges will look at all available information to determine what type of custody to award and what the schedule of custody or visitation parents will look like.

What about my child’s opinion?

Going through a parent’s divorce is tough on children, and it can be even more complicated if the children are put in the middle of the conflict. Prior to the “best interest of the child” standard, parents would try to sway their children to choose one parent over the other or testify against a parent.

It is possible for more mature children to contribute to the custody decision. Still, most judges will talk to the child “in chambers” rather than having the child go through some of the arguments that can happen in family court.