You've probably heard the phrase "the best interests of the child" before but unless you're a parent facing a divorce, you've likely never had to think about what those interests actually are. Many parents approaching the divorce process are surprised just through these considerations are and how they can affect a child custody determination. Below, we'll take a look what the court is actually looking at when they assess a child's best interests in a divorce proceeding.
Understanding a Child's Best Interests
When dealing with divorcing parents, the courts not only want to ensure that the child's ongoing needs are taken care of post-divorce, they also want to establish as much consistency for the child as they can. The court recognizes that, even when a divorce between parents is fairly amicable, the changes in circumstances for a child can still be significant and, without proper consideration, harmful.
Just a few examples of what the court considers in a child custody ruling:
- The health of the child
- The age of the child
- The age and health of both parents
- The child's prospective access to either parent post-divorce
- The child's prospective access to extended family post-divorce
- The child's education
- The child's ties to his/her current community
- Any relocation considerations
- The parents' ability to encourage the child's relationship with the opposite parent
- The preferences of the child (if they are old enough)
- Any domestic abuse or substance abuse issues
It's important to understand that the Nevada courts prefer to award parents joint legal custody. This means that both parents have legal say over the major considerations in the child's upbringing and are expected to collaborate on ongoing parenting decisions. Note that while joint physical custody is also a possibility for Nevada parents, it's likely that one parent will be granted physical custody, meaning the child will reside with them.
If you are facing a divorce and have child custody concerns, then we invite you to contact us at McDonald Law Offices, PLLC. Our award-winning Henderson divorce lawyers understand what the stakes are for parents facing this process and how to navigate their cases towards favorable and amicable results.
Our firm is ready to assist your family during this uncertain time. Contact us today.