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Best interest of the Child Doctrine

The best interest of the child is the deciding factor in most custody cases. There are times when people need help with the legal aspects of child custody and understanding the best interest of the child factors. The experts on JustAnswer frequently answer questions related to the best interest of the child. Take a look at the top five questions that have been answered by Family Lawyers on JustAnswer.

How is grandparent visitation in the best interest of the child?

A grandparent’s role in a child’s life can be monumental. In many cases, the grandparents are active members of the child’s everyday activities. To remove the grandparents from an active participation could often be detrimental. The grandparents offer added security to the child and a sense of identification. The added emotional support that can be offered during a visit from a child’s grandparents is also very helpful to the child. In some situations, the child may not have a strong relationship with the grandparents and the visits can allow for the relationship to grow stronger.

How would someone gain custody of a child after the parent has died?

The death of a parent can be a very tragic event for a child. Without someone willing to take over custody or gain guardianship of the child, foster care is usually the only option. If you are seeking guardianship over a child, you must file a petition for guardianship. Usually, this requires a 6 month custody of the child, formal or not, to gain standing. This can be waived due to emergency jurisdiction because of the parent’s death. The court decides on custody based on what it deems to be in the best interest of the child. This includes, but is not limited to, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other people living in the home, etc. Usually a person will get guardianship of the child if they can convince the court, based on these principles, the child is better off with them.

What can a father do to gain custody of a child who has been placed with the mother?

Both parents have an equal right to custody of their children. However, the mother is usually given primary custody as the primary caregiver unless it can be proven that she is unfit. Usually this would be a result of drugs or actual physical neglect of the child. You need to have evidence when you go to court, your word alone will not be enough. Keeping a list of everything that happens and names of those who witness any event of neglect or abuse by the mother is among the first things you can do. The judge can also play a large part in custody situations. An attorney can assist you in going before a judge that may be more favorable to your situation than another judge. The father is more likely to gain custody as the child grows older since the wishes of the child can be taken into account.

Does a respondent in a child custody case have the opportunity to explain why they should have custody?

When you go to court, you are normally given the chance to testify and state your side of the case. Because you are the respondent, the other side will usually testify first. If there are no lawyers present, the judge will hear from each party, without the usual question and answer format. If there are lawyers, there may be a direct examination and cross examination.

Can a custody change be made if all parties are in agreement?

In some situations, there may be a need for custody change. The reasons vary but usually it is based on the best interest of the child. Maybe the child isn’t adapting well in the current situation and the parent feels that a change would help the child cope with his/her issues. A custodial change can be made without a change in circumstances if all parties are in agreement so long as the child is not being exposed to any harmful conditions in the change.

Many questions can arise when the custody of your child is under the scrutiny of the court. You want to make sure that you do everything expected in order to keep your child with you. However, the courts are primarily concerned with what they deem to be in the best interest of the child. At times, this results in legal questions. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer your questions in an efficient and knowledgeable manner. You can get legal insight to help you find an option that is best suited to your individual needs.
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