When a couple in New York divorces, children often end up getting caught in the middle. There can be disagreements about custody, visitation rights, child support and more. The court is intent on ensuring the child is cared for appropriately and will focus on the best interest of the child when making its determinations. Understanding what is considered within that context is important for the parents, so they can be prepared for their case.
With regards to the phrase, "best interest," there is no established standard as to what it entails. However, the judge will consider numerous factors, so the child's health and safety are addressed. With the best interest of the child in mind, there will not be any favoritism of one parent over the other. Custody and visitation hinge on how the child's interests are served. Before moving forward with the case, parents should have a grasp on what will be assessed.
One parent might have been the predominate caregiver during the marriage. If that is the case, then this will be considered. Different parents have different skills when it comes to parenting. These will be part of the process in determining which parent will have custody and what the visitation arrangements will be. The parents can have different mental and physical health -- this can be important.
Domestic violence will always be a significant factor. Parents might have various work schedules that make it easier or harder to provide a stable environment for the child. This is key. If there are siblings, this will be weighed. The child, if he or she is of sufficient maturity to give an opinion, can state a preference. The parents' ability to be agreeable and amicable with one another and if there are lingering problems that can sabotage a plan is also imperative.
With a divorce, the children should be paramount. For parents who are in the middle of a divorce or are thinking about it, how it affects the children must not be ignored. Understanding the factors of the best interests of the child standard when it comes to family law and divorce can be key to reaching an appropriate result.