The “best interest of the child” rule is the basis for many child custody decisions. This rule is used to protect a child’s mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing and to ensure that that child’s parents are fit to give them the best possible environment to grow. The child’s best interest is taken into account whether the parents come to a custody agreement or the judge makes the final ruling. If you’re a Maryland resident, here are some of the factors the courts may consider to reach a decision concerning custody of a child.
Defining the child’s best interest
There isn’t a set definition of what is in the “best interest of the child.” The court will review several factors to determine which parent is more fit to take care of the child and which parental actions will provide the most benefit to the child. When it comes to child custody, the court will determine if one parent is unfit to be alone with the child and whether one parent is more qualified to care for the child. The court will also decide whether the noncustodial parent will receive supervised visitation.
Proving the child’s best interest
If you want sole custody of your child, you have to provide solid evidence in family court indicating that you can meet the child’s needs and keep them safe. If you and your ex decide to work together to raise the child, you can come up with a parenting plan.
You can negotiate the plan with the other parent, draft one on your own, or work with a mediator to create a plan. The courts will likely favor the parent who spends the most time with the child. If you want primary custody, it’s best to track your parenting time.