An Experienced Family Law Firm

How courts determine the best interests of a child

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Mediation |

When parents in Arizona go through a divorce, one of their main concerns will be about their children. Parents are used to seeing their children almost every day and being there for them. However, as the parents separate their lives, they will also be splitting their time with their children. This can be very difficult and each parent may have concerns about the other parent’s parenting of the children.

Child custody disputes can be very emotional and contentious. Each parent will have their own ideas about what should occur, which parent should be making the decisions for the children and when. When the parents cannot come to an agreement between themselves, whether through mediation or some other form of negotiation, the decision is up to the court, which bases its ruling on what it believes is in the best interests of the children.

Best interests of a child factors

To determine what is in the best interests of the children, judges will analyze the specific circumstances of the marriage and apply them to certain factors. Arizona statutes state the factors that judges use to determine the best interests of the children and those are:

  • Each parent’s relationship with the child during the marriage and their relationship after the divorce
  • The children’s relationship with their parents, siblings and others who have a significant role in their lives
  • How established the children are in their current schools and community
  • What the children want if they are of an age and maturity level to understand what is in their best interests
  • The overall health of the children and the parents
  • Whether there has been domestic violence during the marriage
  • The willingness of the parents to encourage a relationship with the other parent
  • Any other relevant information to determine the best interests of the children

Child custody and parenting time decisions are not easy decisions. They are also very fact-specific and designed to determine what is in the best interests of each individual child. When going through a divorce, it is very important to understand the various factors that are used to determine what is in the best interests of the children. Experienced attorneys understand how these factors are applied and may be able to guide one through the process.