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The child’s best interests often decide custody disputes

When approaching divorce as a parent, it is not always easy to balance your own needs and priorities with those of your child. This is perfectly understandable, but does not work in your favor when it comes time for a court to approve a custody agreement or issue a custody order. As far courts are concerned, the best interests of the child must dictate the distribution of custody privileges and responsibilities.

The difficult news is that this means you may have to make some uncomfortable sacrifices for the sake of your child. However, there are many ways that you can use the court's preferences to you advantage by building your strategy around your child's best interests, at least when it comes to custody and parenting issues.

Often, the most effective means of achieving your divorce goals is to frame them around your child's needs. Not only is this good for your child and demonstrates that he or she truly is a priority to you, it demonstrates to the court that you are a loving parent who has your child in mind when you negotiate your divorce.

Courts decide a child's best interests based on:

  • The physical, emotional and mental needs of the child
  • The child's wishes, depending on his or her age
  • Important relationships in the child's life
  • The ability of each parent to provide for the child and keep him or her safe
  • Instances of dangerous behavior by a parent

While these are only broad categories, they illustrate the issues that you must address as you approach your divorce if you want what is best for your child.

If you face a tough custody dispute, be sure that you fully understand the legal issues that apply to your circumstances. Then, use all the legal resources that you have to devise a sound strategy that places your child's needs and interest first. This demonstrates to the court that your priorities are properly aligned.

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