child support

What is the “Best Interest of the Child” Standard?

When a married couple with children in Virginia makes the difficult decision to divorce, the courts will generally ask the question, “what is in the best interest of the child?” But while this question is in some ways a simple one, it may leave you with some questions of your own. For instance, just who decides what is in fact best for the child, and how do they come to that determination?

At its simplest, the courts seek to answer this question because they want to determine how to best encourage the child to live a happy, fulfilled and successful life. Generally speaking, they tend to promote custody agreements that foster relationships with both parents, as they believe this encourages mental and emotional development in children.

However, the courts don’t know you or your children. They can only base their decisions on the information provided to them. If you are concerned about whether the best needs of your children will actually be met by the terms of your divorce, you need help from an experienced family law lawyer like the one at Deering Hedrick. Contact him today to learn more during a initial consultation.

How Are the Child’s Best Interests Determined?

Family courts in Virginia weigh a wide variety of factors when they determine what they believe is the best custody arrangement for a given child. Before making a decision, Virginia courts want a complete picture of each parent. Some of the information that courts will want to consider before making a custody decision include:

  • Each parent’s financial situation
  • The mental health of each parent
  • The physical health of each parent
  • The living arrangements of each parent
  • Stability of home life
  • Special needs the child may have
  • Support of extended family or friends
  • Religious considerations
  • Cultural considerations
  • Prior custody arrangements
  • Custody arrangements with other children
  • The wishes of the child
  • Evidence of domestic abuse
  • Evidence of child neglect
  • Parental use of drugs or excessive alcohol
  • Evidence of sexual abuse

The courts may also wish to consider other factors as they see fit. The goal is to get a full understanding of a child’s home life and how, post-separation, that home life can be made as healthy and stable as possible.

How a Child Custody Lawyer Can Help

The courts hear thousands of custody cases every year, and as such, don’t have the time or resources to fully understand the unique circumstances of your case. An experienced child custody lawyer in Virginia can make sure that your concerns are presented to the court in an effective manner, and can safeguard both your rights and the rights of your child.

Custody cases can be complicated, and your concerns about the best interests of your child need to be supported by factual and accurate evidence. At Deering Hedrick, we know how to find this evidence and present it to the courts. Don’t leave the fate of your child up to a court system that has never met them. Work with a skilled family law lawyer and give yourself the best chance possible at a positive result.

Contact Deering Hedrick

At Deering Hedrick, understand how important your child and their future truly are, and are prepared to work tirelessly to safeguard their rights and ensure that their best interests are met. Whether you are currently seeking custody of your child or need to make custody agreement modifications, contact us today for a consultation with our compassionate child custody lawyer in Virginia Beach.

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