What does Best Interest of the Child Mean?

In New Mexico, the term “best interest of the child” refers to the principles that are used to determine what is best for the child in a given circumstance. This principle is used in many proceedings like adoption, juvenile justice, or child custody.

In a child custody proceeding, there is a list of best interest factors that the court looks into before deciding on the best custody arrangements such as the following:

  • The emotional ties and relationship between the child and the parent
  • Willingness and capacity of parents to provide adequate food, clothing, and medical care
  • The effect of continued contact with both parents on the child’s mental, physical, and phycological health the child
  • The privacy of each parent after separation
  • Suitability of parenting plan
  • Geographic distance between the parents’ residences
  • The willingness of both parents to communicate and cooperate in decision-making pertaining to the child’s school, medication, religion, and many more

If the above factors have been satisfied, the court may award joint custody and assist the parents in making arrangements as to how they will share time with the child. However, if the court can find that there is domestic abuse or child abuse, or one of the parents has been neglectful, has alcohol problems, or has been incarcerated, the court may grant full custody to only one parent as it is in the best interest of the child.

Furthermore, since each custody case is unique from the other the family court is not just limited to the above-mentioned factors. In some cases, the court will explore the wishes of the child and other siblings as well as the family members. The court will also consider the child’s adjustment to his new home, school, or community should the parents decide to liquidate the family home and transfer to a new residence. It’s going to be a long and tedious battle that will require rigor not just for the attorneys representing the case but also for the parents seeking their rights.

Put it simply, the best interests of the child leans towards what is best for the child’s welfare and well-being. It is important for parents to understand these standards to have realistic impact over child custody cases. Above all, parents involved in a child custody case must remember to always put their child’s needs first.

Since there are so many factors involved in the determination of what is in the best interest of the child, we recommend that you have the assistance of an experienced child custody attorney. Call Justice Legal Group where we focus on complex custody cases throughout New Mexico. Contact us at 505-880-8737 or email us at info@JusticeLegalGroup.com.