Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
Local 413-315-5518
Toll Free 877-622-6089

Family Law Attorney

I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

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What are best interests of a child in custody determinations?

Regardless of how much a parent loves his or her child, sometimes it is in a family’s best interest for the parents to get a divorce. This is not a reflection of parenting skills.Instead, it is a testament to the fact that parents are committed to providing the best living environment for their children. Since there are many concerned parents out there in Springfield and the surrounding area, many parents have questions about a child’s ‘best interests’ in a divorce. What are these best interests, exactly?

A child’s ‘best interests’ is a legal term that encompasses factors in a child custody arrangement that should benefit a child. This is because child custody and visitation discussions and decisions are determined with the ultimate goal of fostering and encouraging the child's happiness, security, mental health and emotional development. A child custody decision is not merely a way to split parenting time with both parents, although this may be a consequential result of the custody arrangement. There are many factors that are considered when deciding if a child’ best interests are met by a child custody order.

One large factor (if a child is of age) is a child’s wishes and desires for his or her home environment and custody situation. The courts take a child’s wishes seriously when determining how to split custody. This is especially true in situations of volatile disagreements like a ‘custody battle’ or possibly in a situation where a parent is accused of mistreatment or abuse. It might be, depending on maturity level, in both parents’ best interests to have a discussion with their child about what the child would like out of the new living situation and custody order.

There are other factors that can influence custody (especially in cases where a child is too young or unable to express desires). It is generally considered, without evidence to the contrary, that a child’s best interests are served by having an open, accessible relationship with both parents. However, those facing child custody situations may want to seek to clarify potential pitfalls by considering contacting an experienced family law attorney.

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
1380 Main Street, Suite 302
Springfield, MA 01103

Toll Free: 877-622-6089
Phone: 413-315-5518
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