My name is Danielle Diaz. One of the things I've learned in life, both inside and outside the courtroom, is that it is important to not see others as your enemy. Even though you may see the prosecutor as your enemy, he or she is just trying to do a job. It may be possible that you can get a prosecutor or the judge to be sympathetic and get him or her on your side. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand the law. I feel that most individuals do not understand the law, which is why I was motivated to create this blog.
The phrase "best interest of the child" is often heard when it comes to legal situations that involve minor-aged children. Many times, parents will first encounter this term when discussing child custody, visitation and child support during their divorce. It's understandable that the justice system takes a strong stance on protecting the most innocent and vulnerable of those impacted by adults and the decisions they make, and this phrase shows up in nearly every court order that involves children. If you are a divorcing parent, it's in your best interest to have a good understanding of what is really meant by this term, so read on to learn more about how the best interest of the child is determined when custody becomes a contested issue.
The Child's Age
The changing structure of the workplace has also changed the way that judges decide custody; or has it? Originally, the courts would often just automatically place babies and young children with their mothers, and society at that time facilitated these actions, since fewer women with young children worked outside of their homes. Nowadays, the father is nearly as likely as the mother to stay home from a job and care for newborns and toddlers, so the number of custody awards going to fathers should have evened up. That, according to studies, has not happened. A Princeton University study has revealed that family court judges still favor the mother over the father when awarding custody, all other factors being equal. While the courts cannot overtly proclaim that giving the mother custody over the father is in the "best interest of the child" in all cases, it does happen often enough to skew the statistics.
Who Retains the Family Home
It stands to reason that a child whose life, neighborhood, friends, school and home are impacted as little as possible by a divorce will weather the process far better. The family courts realize that maintaining as much security as possible is in "the best interest of the child," so if the family home is up for grabs, the parent who is awarded that home may also get the children. For those with no home in contention, don't neglect the quality of living conditions for your minor children if you hope to get custody. Consider the safety and appropriateness of any home to ensure that the court will approve of your choice.
The Parental Relationship
Let's face it; divorcing parents must have their differences or they would have worked it out and stayed together. You can, however, exercise control over your interactions with your spouse during the divorce process, and you should do so for the sake of your children. If you are fighting for custody, you want to demonstrate good parenting skills to the courts. Being a good parent might mean putting aside your issues with your spouse long enough to do what's right for your child. Refrain from bad-mouthing your spouse, making negative comments and using manipulative behaviors. Your children will thank you, and the judge will view you as the better parent for putting the 'best interest of the child" at the forefront.
To learn more about how family courts view this issue, consult with a firm such as Madison Law Firm PLLC.