How do judges determine what is best for children?

| Nov 25, 2020 | Family Law |

If you have children and are going through a divorce or custody dispute, it likely will not be long before you encounter the phrase, “the best interests of the children.” This legal standard is the one by which judges in Connecticut and many other places settle family law matters. 

What you, your soon-to-be ex-spouse and the state consider to be in the best interests of your kids may be wildly different. Fortunately, the law of the Constitution State is clear on the subject. When deciding what is best for the children, judges must consider some statutory and judicial factors. 

Statutory factors

There are 16 factors a judge must weigh when making or modifying custody or visitation orders. If you have anxiety about your situation, reviewing each of these factors may help put your mind at ease. The 16 factors fit into four broad categories: 

  • The needs of the children 
  • The capacity of each parent to meet the needs of the children 
  • The wishes of each parent 
  • Other relevant information that may affect the parent-children relationship 

Judicial factors

While judges may start with the statutory factors, they may also consider certain factors from case law. Judicial factors do not change statutory ones. Instead, they simply flush out what judges may weigh when settling custody disputes, reworking visitation schedules or making other children-related orders. 

The additional factors the judge in your case may consider cover a variety of subjects, such as parenting skills, past parenting behaviors and even each parent’s credibility. Consequently, to boost your chances of achieving the outcome you want, you may choose to take a comprehensive approach when addressing both judicial factors and statutory ones.