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How do courts determine the best interests of a child?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2023 | Child Custody

In divorce cases, people often talk about doing what is best for the children when it comes to deciding which parent should get primary physical and legal custody of any minors involved in the separation. However, many factors go into deciding what is in the best interests of a child, and the concept can quickly become confusing.

Here are some of the factors that Oklahoma courts use when determining the best interests of a child.

Whether or not there has ever been abuse

The courts wish to protect children from harm, which means keeping them out of potentially abusive situations. Suppose one spouse is or has ever been physically, emotionally or sexually abusive to the other spouse or any of the children. In that case, a court may likely say that anything other than supervised visitation with that parent is not in the child’s best interest.

Whether or not there is drug abuse

When someone has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they may not be able to perform their responsibilities as well as they would when sober. A case of current drug abuse is another factor that plays into deciding the best interests of minors.

With whom the child prefers to live

Minors old enough to speak for themselves regarding which parent they prefer living with may also get some say in the court system. When a child is happy with where they live, it boosts their overall well-being.

Knowing what courts look at when determining the best interests of a child is helpful for parents to know what to expect.