A divorce can be tough not only on the couple who have chosen to end their marriage, but also on their children. During divorce proceedings, it is possible for the separating couple to independently come to an agreement with respect to parenting time and custody. When these negotiations break down, the court can step in to make these decisions instead. Unfortunately, in divorces where children are involved, one or both parents can sometimes weaponize parenting time negotiations against the other. It’s vital that parents do not fall into this destructive pattern. The goal of negotiations surrounding parenting should always be the best interests of the child or children involved.
The best interest of the child is a term often used by family law courts to denote the decisions and practices necessary to cause a child to grow and mature into a responsible, well-adjusted adult. The child’s best interests could include, but are by no means limited to:
• The viewpoint of the child, if they are old enough to come to a mature opinion on their own.
• Their care, protection, and overall safety.
• The family environment the child is to be raised in.
• The identity and personal history of the child.
• Preserving, where possible, a healthy relationship between the child and both of their parents.
• Social contact with peers and other familial adults.
• Their health and educational needs.
• Evidence or lack thereof of abuse.
Courts do not consider any one factor on their own when making decisions about child custody and parenting time. Instead, the best interests of the child are determined using a multitude of factors in their totality. Of course, any parent would want to preserve these factors for their child. They are the necessary ingredients to help them grow up to be healthy and happy adults. Unfortunately, when emotions get heated, it can be easy to lose sight of that.
It’s vital that as a parent, you put your emotions to one side when making decisions about parenting time and custody with your soon to be ex-spouse. It is better for everyone involved if you and your spouse can come to an agreement independently. Not only does it save both parties time and money spent on legal costs, but it also places the well-being of your children as a top priority and not punishment of your spouse. It gives them more time to adjust to the very big and disruptive change taking place in their lives.
If you’re undergoing a child custody case, we here at Simon Law Group can help. We are experts in navigating the family law system in the state of Arizona and have helped thousands of parents just like you. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help!