During the custody process, you may wonder what the court means when they say they look at the “best interests” of the child.

These various factors outlined in the law can determine which parent your child lives with the majority of the time. Whenever the court makes a decision about child custody, everyone must first take into consideration what is best for the child.

Safety and health

According to the California Courts, one of the most imperative factors is how safe the child is at a residence. If you often have strange visitors coming in and out or there is evidence of illegal alcohol or drug habits, then it may be harder to obtain physical custody.

Judges also look at the ability of a parent to care for a child in other ways, such as financial stability.

Strength of parental bonds

The bond between you and your child can greatly influence custody. If you both get along well and you are open to fostering strong bonds with other family members, then it may reflect well on you as a parent. Meaningful emotional ties with a parent can positively influence the mental health of the child.

Ties to community

Since your child is dealing with stress in other parts of his or her life, such as starting a new school or living in a new home, bonds to an existing community are even more important after a divorce. The court often looks at ties to places or groups that influence a child’s daily life.

Factors that influence a child’s best interests can range from safety reasons to circumstances such as emotional bonds.