The statute lists a number of different things that the court would take into consideration when they’re assessing best interest. Part of it, they will look at the wishes of the parents and the wishes of the child, depending on how old they are. By the way, the wishes of the child never controls; they don’t get the control.
The amount of time that parents spent performing caretaking functions for the 24-month filing prior to the petition, you have to look up what caretaking functions are. They’re like taking him to school, taking him to the doctor, making him food – all different types of caretaking functions are involved. They’ll look at any prior agreement or course of conduct between the parents. They’ll look at the inner action and inner relationship with a child with his parents or siblings or any other person. They’ll look at the adjustment to his home, school, or community. They’ll look at the mental and physical health of everybody. They’ll look at the kid’s needs, they’ll look at the distance between the parents’ houses, and the costs of transportation between them. Whether parenting time should be restricted, whether there’s physical violence which is directed against the child or someone else in the house, the willingness and ability of each parent to place the needs of the kid ahead of their own is the key factor.
If you find two parents and one of them is totally unwilling to promote the relationship with the other parent and the other parent is a good parent, not an abuser, not a drug addict, then that can come into play big time, especially in a trial where the judge is judging the demeanour of the people.
Also, there is the occurrence of abuse against the child. Whether the parent is a sex offender, whether the parent is in the military, they have to have a special plan or any other factor that the court finds to be relevant, which the sky is the limit.
With 30 years of experience in family law, Laura M. Urbik Kern is a certified mediator and family lawyer who concentrates on dissolution, family and juvenile law, child support, and complex domestic relations cases.