How do courts decide who gets physical and legal custody of the children? What if my child has already told me who she wants to live it?
“Best interest of the child”—the phrase that pays. As you may know at this point, reasonable minds may disagree. What mom, dad and the judge thinks is best for the child may all be different. This overarching principle is the controlling factor in each and every child custody case that comes before a judge. So, what then exactly does ‘best interest of a child’ mean? Basically, it can involve all aspects of the child’s life, from past issues of any abuse or neglect suffered by the child, to health, safety, education and general welfare. Courts will also look to see what the status quo is, and determine whether it should be modified (although this is usually less of a factor for divorcing parents who have yet to physically separate and need an initial custody determination).
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