What Does “Best Interests of Child” Mean?

best interest of child

What Does “Best Interests of Child” Mean?

Everyone knows that in a legal separation or divorce, child custody is determined by the “best interests of the child”.

However, not every one truly understands what that means.

What does it mean?

It means you need to aside YOUR notion of what’s best for you.  And focus on your child.

Is 50/50 Really Best Interest?

Frequently, one party will insist on EXACTLY 50/50.

This is when you should understand the difference between legal custody and physical custody.

For the most part, legal custody should be shared.  If there is difficulty in reaching agreement, you can seek tie-breaking authority.

Physical custody is different.  Children are NOT fractions, or a pizza or pie.  50/50 may not always work with physical custody.

Babies and 50/50

For example, babies should not be shared 50/50.  Especially if they are breastfeeding.  There is a bonding that occurs between mother and child during the early baby years.  The baby years are often the most stressful on both parents, but especially on the nursing mother who just gave birth.

That being said, breastfeeding is not an obstacle to shared custody.  You just need to be creative and set aside selfish desires and support the bond.  In the case of a baby, to protect the father, I would encourage a step-up parenting plan.

Best Interests of Child, NOT You

Even beyond the baby years, there are times where 50/50 shared physical parenting is not going to work.

For example, if one parent travels for work and is hardly around.  Or if one parent lives far from the child’s school.  There is a Judge that does not allow the child to commute longer than 20 minutes each way.

Best Interests

In the end, best interests are for the child.  I’ve often heard, “My house is cleaner!”  “My house is bigger!”  “I cook, they feed junk food!”  “They got lice at their house!”  “Their house is a pigsty!”  “They don’t dress the kid appropriately!”  “They don’t do the kid’s homework!”

These are all very common custody complaints.

However, none of that matters more than accepting each other’s parenting faults and working TOGETHER to provide a united homefront.

This commercial really hits home for me, and I wanted to share with you.


This was my favorite mom commercial when my babies were little #momsoftiktok #united #similac

♬ original sound – Lawyer Kelly

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