Are you anticipating a heated dispute over child custody and visitation? If so, then you need to understand how the court will assess the matter and make a determination. By doing so, you can build arguments that support your position and protect the relationship you have with your child.
Family law courts apply the “best interests” standard when it comes to child custody and visitation matters. This means that a court, after being presented with all of the evidence, will make a decision that it thinks is best for the child or children involved. But what constitutes “best interests” is open for argument.
This is because there are a number of factors that a court can consider when dealing with these issues. Amongst them are:
- The child’s needs, including those pertaining to:
- Physical wellness
- Emotional health
- Cultural awareness
- Spirituality; and
- Special needs
- The child’s medical and mental health needs
- The child’s educational needs
- Each parent’s condition, with due consideration for his or her:
- Emotional health
- Medical condition; and
- Financial stability
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- Any history of abuse
- How a proposed custody arrangement will effect the child’s relationship with his or her other parent
A lot of these factors are subjective in nature, meaning that you have the ability to mold the evidence to support your position. However, you have to remember that the child’s interests are paramount.
Therefore, if you have evidence of a child’s exposure to domestic violence or substance abuse, then you should attempt to show how that exposure affects the child. These situations can leave children with anxiety and depression, and it often leaves them more susceptible to physical abuse and neglect. These children also tend to struggle in school, exhibit aggressive behaviors, and engage in risky behaviors, sometimes resulting in delinquency. If you can present that evidence to a judge, then you’ll be in a strong position.
But you’ll need to know how to gather that evidence, admit it at trial, and use it as a foundation to build your legal arguments. Those who are unfamiliar with the rules of evidence and trial procedure, as well as applicable law, often find themselves at a disadvantage.
When it comes to dealing with child custody and visitation matters, though, there’s simply too much at stake to leave these matters to chance. You don’t have to go to the Twin Cities to find competent help with these matters, either. Instead, you can find skilled family law professionals in Shakopee who stand ready to help you fight to build and preserve your relationship with your child and protect him or her from potentially harmful custody and visitation arrangements.