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Factors judges consider when determining a child's best interest

Child custody matters in Nebraska hinge on the best interest of the child or children concerned. What this means is that the child's best interest take precedence, within reason, over the interests of the parents. However, the best interests of a child may become a subject of intense debated during family court proceedings, so what factors do judges consider when evaluating this important question?

Here are the most common factors that go into a family court judge's analysis of the best interests of a child:

-- For children who are old enough and mature enough, what are the preferences of the children?

-- What are the physical and mental health levels of the parents?

-- For children with special needs, what does each parent do to make sure the child is taken care of?

-- What are the religions of the parents and what religious background has the child been raised under thus far?

-- How can the stability of the child's home environment best be ensured?

-- Does the custody of other children need to be considered in this case?

-- How can the interaction of the child with extended family members, like grandparents, best be supported?

-- How can the relationships between the child and other household members be supported?

-- What is the sex and age of the child?

-- Have there ever been instances of domestic violence at any of the child's past and/or potential future homes?

-- Where does the child attend school and how is the child involved with the community?

-- Does either parent inflict emotional abuse or excessive discipline on the child?

-- Is there evidence of child/sex abuse or drug/alcohol abuse committed by either parent?

Determining the best interests of a child in a given Nebraska child custody matter is never cut and dry. For this reason, parents embroiled in a child custody dispute may want to employ the services of an experienced family law attorney to help them evaluate the situation and seek the most appropriate outcome that supports their goals, as well as the best interests of the child or children involved.

Source: FindLaw, "Focusing on the "Best Interests" of the Child," accessed Dec. 02, 2016

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