Whether the child’s parents come to their own custody agreement or a family court judge creates a custody agreement, the best interest of the child always comes first. This usually entails anything that will keep the child safe, happy and fulfilled. Ideally, both parents will share in the parenting duties in a manner that will foster a strong relationship with that child.

It is understandable that the realities of life may make it difficult to come to such an agreement. However, the child must be allowed to have both parents in his or her life if it is in his or her best interests. In some cases, the child may be able to have a say in where he or she stays depending on their age.

When considering what is in the best interest of a child, there are many factors to review. The age and gender of the child is considered as well as the mental and physical stability of the parent. If the child has special needs, that may determine where a child stays or who is responsible for paying for any extra costs associated with those needs. The religious upbringing and spiritual needs of the child will also be taken into account when creating custody and visitation arrangements.

Parents who are trying to resolve a child custody dispute may wish to consult with a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to help resolve the dispute in or outside of a courtroom. An attorney may be able to broker a compromise that best suits their client and the child in question.

Source: Findlaw, “Focusing on the “Best Interests” of the Child“, December 04, 2014