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Understanding the “best interests of the child” standard

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Family Law |

If you and your child’s other parent need to formalize child custody arrangements and a parenting plan, you may have heard that you’ll need to seek a resolution that meets the “best interests of the child” standard. 

What exactly is this standard?  How can you and your co-parent approach the responsibilities that the standard requires you both to meet?  The answers to these inquiries are relatively straightforward. 

The basics of child custody

Every family law court in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. is required to resolve child custody and parenting plan disputes in the best interest of the child at the center of any given case.  This means that judges must consider whatever arrangement will most closely align with what a child needs, even if one of their fit parents objects to that arrangement. 

When co-parents agree on an arrangement that they mutually believe will serve their child’s best interests, the court is unlikely to override their decision-making.  When parents disagree, the court will rule in favor of the party whose approach fits the court’s vision of what is best for the child involved.

Every child’s best interests are slightly different.  You’ll have the greatest success at serving your child’s best interests if you consider their circumstances, personality, and unique needs.

Looking forward

By carefully considering how the best interests of the child apply to your own child, you’ll place yourself in a strong position to advocate for those interests.  Whether you and your co-parent hope to resolve your custody case amicably or a judge will need to intervene and make a ruling in favor of one position or another, if you keep your child’s best interests at the forefront of your mind, you’ll be inspired to take steps to further them. 


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