How Judges Determine What’s in a Child’s Best Interest

How Judges Determine What’s in a Child’s Best Interest

How Judges Determine What’s in a Child’s Best Interest

Divorce is never easy, but it is especially challenging when children are involved. Tensions can ride high between the parents because neither wants to lose time with their child. That is why both parents should hire a professional attorney to ensure their recommendations are heard in court. Yet, it is ultimately up to the judge to decide what should happen to children if their parents decide to end their marriage. This article will explain how judges determine what’s in a child’s best interest upon divorce so that parents know what to expect when going into court.

Impact on Lifestyle

The number one concern of judges in custody cases is to change the child’s life as little as possible. Their life will automatically be different once their parents are no longer married. Consequently, there is no reason to blow up every aspect of their lives. So, the judge will look at the child’s current situation and, most of the time, try to keep it as close to normal as possible. However, there are mitigating factors that may compromise this dream. The remainder of this piece will discuss these factors and what role they play in a judge’s decision.


Parents need to be able to support their child when needed. Perhaps one fact that judges look at most is stability. They want to make sure the parent who gets custody can provide for them when in their care. Being able to provide a consistent, safe environment is very important when determining residential time. In part, that is why Child support exists, so that the child does not feel extreme socioeconomic changes burdened at one parent’s house over the other. The judge wants to limit the change on the child as much as possible. Providing documentation of steady housing, employment, transportation, and the ability to care and provide for your child, as they are accustomed to, are major factors when the courts make their decision on residential time.

Anyone who needs a child support lawyer in Washington State should contact LaCoste Family Law right away. We will present a fair case to the judge. We will do everything legally possible to make sure that the amount set for child support is fair and used appropriately and that all goes to your child so that your former spouse does not use it inappropriately. We will also try to ensure that child support payments do not negatively affect your wallet or life.

Living Situation

Determining a child’s living situation is one of the most challenging aspects of getting a divorce. It is difficult because, most of the time, neither parent wants to lose time with their child. Yet, judges have to put these emotions aside when determining a living situation. Again, this is about changing the child’s life as minimally as possible. So, that may mean that one parent gets less time with their child than the other.

The end goal is to not change the child’s life too much after a divorce. However, both parents must be able to show the courts that they have a legitimate living situation waiting for their children. If one parent cannot prove they have a stable environment, a judge will likely grant custody to the other party, no matter how much it changes the child’s life. A parent must meet their child’s safety and basic needs in order for a judge to even consider letting a child live with them.

Friend & Family Recommendations

One of the major misconceptions about divorce is that only the people getting divorced are affected by its outcome or involved in the proceedings. So far, this article has shown that children are indeed affected. Family and friends may be asked to write declarations in support of one parent over the over. Why? The judge will take what they say into account. People who have been around the child will know what is best for them better than anyone else. So, the judge will definitely take their opinions into account when making their decision.

Parents’ Relationship & Social Media

Tensions run high at the dissolution of a marriage. Judges will pay attention to this to ensure their behavior does not affect the child. For example, if one parent is constantly bad-mouthing the other while in the child’s presence or in court, this will play a role in custody and other matters. Believe it or not, attorneys may also take a look at your social media to determine what is the child’s best interest. Again, if the parents are bad-mouthing each other or making false claims over the internet, the judge may bring this up during a custody dispute. For these reasons, it is better to be as amicable as possible while going through a divorce. Acting contentious toward one another will only drag out the process and make things worse for everyone.

How Does the Child Benefit?

When examining these factors, one question comes to mind: how does the child benefit from their parental relationships? A judge never wants to rip a child away from their parents. However, if one of these factors presents cause for worry, the judge will be forced to think about what one parent’s absence will do to the child. Again, parents must be able to establish basic needs for the judge to consider a joint custody agreement. If all the needs are met, the above question becomes even more prevalent.

This article has examined how judges determine what’s in a child’s best interest. As this piece has shown, both parents must meet the child’s fundamental needs for a judge to consider joint custody. If all these needs are met, the judge will base more of their decision on limiting changes in the child’s life as much as possible. Unfortunately, this may result in one parent getting to spend less time with their children. Yet, this may not be the case if you have a great lawyer by your side.

The attorneys at LaCoste Family Law will fight for you in court. We will show the judge that your relationship with your child is instrumental to their well-being. We will ask family and friends to speak on your behalf, all while asking you to remain amicable with your ex. If you help us by showing you can meet your child’s basic needs and not bad-mouthing your former spouse, we will try our hardest to get you as much time with your children as possible.

How Judges Determine What’s in a Child’s Best Interest