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What is the best interest of the child standard?

The most contentious discussions during a divorce can often center on the children. Determining custody arrangements is a difficult process, particularly if the parents cannot come to an agreement on their own. In these situations, the courts may play a role in putting together a custody arrangement. When this happens, courts generally apply a legal standard referred to as the best interest of the child.

Various factors are taking into consideration when making this determination. In Connecticut, these factors can include:

  • The child. The temperament of the child, as well as his or her developmental needs, is considered. The child’s relationship with each parent and, in some cases, the child’s preferences can also play a role in the determination.
  • The parents. The wishes of the parents as well as the capacity of each parent to meet the child’s needs are also reviewed. The courts will also take into consideration the relationship between the parents with particular concern for the ability to encourage the child to foster a relationship with the non-custodial parent when appropriate.
  • The environment. The cultural background of the child, the amount of time the child has spent in the environment offered by each parent can also factor in the determination.

Parents that wish to maintain custody of their children can build a case to help establish that they will meet the best interest of the child. An experienced child custody attorney can aid in this process, advocating for you and working to better ensure your family’s interests are protected. 

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