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What is the Best Interest of the Child Standard?

A young girl holding paper figures of two larger people and one smaller person in the middle

The Ultimate Factor

When parents file for a divorce, one of the biggest questions that needs to be answered is who will have custody of the children. In North Carolina, the best interests of the child standard are used to make this decision. There are several factors that go into determining what is in the best interests of a child, and it can be a complicated process. In this blog, we will discuss somekey factors that are considered when making a custody determination.

Defining the Standard

In North Carolina, the best interests of the child standard is used to determine child custody arrangements. This standard takes into account a variety of factorsto provide what is best for the child's overall well-being. Some of the factors that are considered include:

  • The physical, emotional, and mental health of each parent

  • The ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child

  • The relationship between the child and each parent

  • The stability of each home environment

  • Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent

  • The preference of the child, if he or she is old enough to express a preference (generally 12 years old or older)

  • Any other factor that may impact the best interests of the child

It is important to note that no single factor is determinative in the best interests of the child analysis. The court will instead consider all of the factors togetherto make a custody determination.

Applying the Standard

When deciding on child custody, the court will first look at whether joint legal or physical custody would meet the best interests of the child. If joint custody is not possible or would not be in the best interests of the child, then the court will award sole legal or physical custody to one parent.

The best interests of the child standard is always applied as a top priority. This means that even if one parent may have more financial resources or if the child has a stronger bond with the other parent, that may be given more weight in the custody determination. Ultimately, what is best for the child will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Work with a Family Law Attorney

If you are going through a custody dispute, it is important to have an experienced attorney who can advocate on your behalf and help you understand how the best interests of the child standard may apply in your case. At Blood Law, PLLC, our team can help you determine how to move forward in a child custody case that helps meet your child's best interests.

Learn more about child custody in North Carolina or schedule a consultation by calling (704) 286-0570 or by visiting our website.