How the Best Interests of the Child Standard Impacts Child Custody Cases in Jackson, MississippiThe Law Offices of Malouf & Malouf, PLLC are child custody lawyers who can help you understand how the best interests of the child standard can impact your child custody case in Mississippi. If you and your former partner are divorcing or need to put a parenting plan in place because you will live apart, it is often best if you can reach a child custody agreement outside of court, through compromise and mediation. At the end of the day, Malouf & Malouf, child custody lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi believe that parents will always know what is in the best interests of their children. The child’s parents and not a judge are often the best decision-makers when it comes to making choices about where a child will reside and how decisions will be made for the children. With compromise and careful mediation, many parents can reach child custody agreements that are best for the family and for the children. However, sometimes child custody cases must go to court. Sometimes one parent has a history of domestic violence or drug abuse. Or, in some cases, parents cannot reach an agreement about child custody or how decisions will be made for the children on their own. If your child custody case needs to go to court, you’ll likely hear about the “best interests of the child” standard. When judges have to resolve custody disputes in court, they are instructed to consider what would be in the best interests of the child. However, this concept can be quite vague, and it can be difficult to predict which factors of this standard a judge will weigh the most highly. There are many factors a judge might consider when evaluating what is in the best interests of the child. What are some factors a judge might consider when considering what is in the best interests of the child?
- Who was the child’s primary caregiver before the divorce? The parent who was the child’s primary caregiver will likely receive preference for physical custody and legal decision-making after the divorce. If you have been the parent responsible for feeding your child, transporting your child to school, bathing, and managing your child’s social and after school activities, the judge may be more likely to award you custody. Malouf & Malouf are child custody lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who can help you gather evidence to support the case that you are your child’s primary caregiver.
- Ability of each parent to care for the child. Each parent’s financial situation, home situation, and physical or mental health might be considered when evaluating which parent is best able to care for the child. For example, a parent who doesn’t have a stable apartment due to financial issues might have trouble getting custody. A parent with an illness that impacts her ability to perform caregiving duties may have to show how she would still be best able to care for the child in order to receive primary physical custody. Malouf & Malouf are child custody lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who can help you gather the evidence you might need to support your parenting ability and skills.
- Home and work life. The judge will consider which parent can provide the most stable home for the child. For example, if the child’s living with one parent means the child can continue to go to the same school, this parent might get preference for physical custody. If one parent is often away on business trips, this could impact the parent’s ability to provide a stable home life. Malouf & Malouf are child custody lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who can help you support your case by documenting the ways you might be able to provide a stable home and work life for your child.
- Where the siblings will reside. According to the Mississippi Bar, judges tend to prefer to keep siblings together. The judge may also consider the child’s proximity to extended family and close friends.
- Domestic violence or drug abuse issues. If a parent has a history of domestic violence, drug abuse issues, or other issues, the judge may award custody to the parent without this history and may limit visitation to the parent with these issues. If you are concerned for the physical, emotional, or moral safety of your child, it is important to protect your children during your child custody dispute. Malouf & Malouf work hard to protect the best interests of the children in Jackson, Mississippi when one parent has a history of violence or drug abuse.
- Preference of the child. If your child is over 12 years old, the court may ask the child what his or her preference is. The judge may consider this when making child custody decisions.
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