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What factors determine a child's best interests?

In determining the terms of a child custody agreement, the phrase "best interests of the child," often comes up. The importance of these words cannot be overstated because it is through the prism of a child's best interests that all custody decisions are made. The idea being that the child's security, happiness and general well-being are of paramount concern to the court during custody negotiations.

But what factors contribute in deciding a child's best interests? Well, it turns out that there is quite of list of such factors, but the following are some of the more significant items.

  • The child's age and gender.
  • The child's need for a continuing stable home environment.
  • The child's wishes insofar as his or her ability to express a reasonable preference.
  • If the child's home has had a history of domestic violence.
  • If there is evidence of parental sex, alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Matters concerning the child's schooling.

This is only a partial list, and parents would do well to seriously consider these and other relevant factors when working out custody details. One thing that can certainly serve a child well is having parents that are able to amicably establish the terms for both custody and visitation. When parents divorce, children can feel emotionally torn between two people whom they love.

A Colorado family law attorney may be able to help craft an agreement that satisfies the needs of all parties involved. But if you are unable to reach a reasonable agreement due to a lack of cooperation from the child's other parent, the attorney could also possibly help you prepare to present your side of the story in a court of law.

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