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How do I know the best interests of my child?

Separation or the end of a marriage is always a difficult process. Even straightforward and amicable divorces between understanding spouses can become confusing, complicated and even contentious.

When a marriage has brought offspring into the world, no one feels a divorce more than the children.

How are children treated in divorce?

Like jurists around New York State, family court judges in Nassau and Suffolk counties adhere to the standard of "best interests of the child" when figuring out child custody and support. This principle can be fuzzy at times, so it is important to go into the process understanding what it means.

What does "best interests" mean and why is it important?

All custody and visitation decisions made by parents or judges should move towards a child's happiness, security and positive mental or emotional development. This focus can help parents make decisions beyond their own preferences, especially while going through the turmoil of separation and divorce.

What factors make up determinations of "best interests?"

It is usually ideal for a child to maintain strong emotional ties with both parents, but the physical and mental health of both parents are important factors. Support structures beyond parents, such as grandparents and other members of the household, are also vital. Any behavioral patterns that may affect the children must be considered as well.

An attorney can help parents going through divorce to serve their children's best interests in negotiations, settlements or court-ordered custody arrangements. Legal representation may prove to be more positive for the children as well as the parent, as they are likely to fully address responsibilities and possibilities.

Source: FindLaw, "Focusing on the "Best Interests" of the Child," accessed April 03, 2018

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