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The “best interests of a child” in family law

When crafting or reviewing a child custody plan, a Delaware judge must ensure that its terms meet the best interest of the child standard. This means that a minor’s needs must be met even if doing so may not align with what either of the parents may have wanted. There are many factors that might be evaluated to verify that a given plan meets this standard.

An agreement should aim to preserve the status quo

Ideally, a child will be able to retain a similar lifestyle to the one that was enjoyed prior to the divorce. For example, the parent who remains in the family home may be given custody of that minor because doing so would allow the child to remain in a familiar location. It would also likely allow the child to remain in the same school and keep the same friends and teachers.

The greatest ability is availability

A parent who works odd hours or lives in another state may not have the ability to provide regular care. As a general rule, parents who can’t be there for their kids on a regular basis generally receive only visitation rights. This is typically true even if a mother or father would otherwise be fit to be a child’s primary caregiver. It’s worth noting that an order may be modified if a noncustodial parent were to get a job with regular hours or address other concerns that a family law judge might have originally had.

There are many lines of evidence that you may be able to use to convince a judge that you should be your child’s primary caregiver. Statements from teachers, medical reports and your child’s own words may all be used to show that you should be granted full or shared custodial rights.