What Are The Best Interests Of The Child?
In Tennessee divorce cases, whenever a minor child is involved the court uses the “best interests of the child” to make determinations regarding their custody, support, relocation, and other important decisions. But how exactly does the judge determine what the best interests of the child are? At Fort, Holloway, & Rogers our experienced and knowledgeable Franklin divorce attorneys are here to answer this and any other questions that may arise during your case. To learn more, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation of your case.
Factors Weighed in the Best Interests
Tennessee law determines what factors a judge must consider when deciding what is in the best interests of the child. The court determines the weight of all factors and is given latitude to determine what factors hold more weight than others. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The love, affection, and emotional ties between the child and each parent,
- The ability of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education, and necessary care as well as the degree that each parent has been a primary caregiver,
- The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment,
- The stability of each parent for the family unit
- The mental and physical health of each parent,
- The home, school and community record of the child,
- The reasonable preference of the child, if twelve years of age or older, although the preference of a younger child is allowed on request but given less weight,
- Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child,
- The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and their interactions with the child, and
- Each parent’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including their willingness and ability to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
When are the Best Interests of the Child Applied?
The best interests of the child standard is applied whenever an issue regarding the child’s care and wellbeing are determined by the court. Two of the most common examples include making determinations about child custody and child support. However, the best interests of the child are also used if there is a relocation request and when one parent requests a modification of the initial order for custody or support. Even when parents agree to terms outside of the courtroom in mediation or collaborative divorce proceedings, any decision regarding a child is still viewed through the lens of whether it is in the child’s best interest before being approved by the court. To learn more about the best interests of the child standard, talk to our office today.
Talk to Our Office Now
Do you have more questions about how the best interests of the child standard may impact your case? Call or contact Fort, Holloway, & Rogers today to schedule a consultation to learn more.