How do you determine the "best interests" of your children?

You and your spouse have reached the conclusion that divorcing is the only viable option to resolving ongoing marital conflict. Now, you are faced with the very difficult task of telling your children what is going to happen and then doing your best to help them cope with the changes that will be taking place. Most likely, throughout the legal process in Tennessee, courts will make important decisions about the future of your children only after considering their best interests. 

While the term "best interests" is quite common when referencing divorce and children, have you ever considered exactly what it refers to? According to childwelfare.gov, "best interests" is more of a process than an actual thing. This is the decision-making parameter considered by courts as they decide which outcomes will most benefit your children. Often, many factors are considered when the courts are left to decide the details when it comes to child custody arrangements between you and your spouse. Some of the things they may consider include the following:

  • The mental and physical health of you and your ex.
  • The relationship your children have with you and your ex.
  • Whether or not there has been any history of domestic violence with either you or your ex.
  • The ability of you and your ex to provide a stable home environment.
  • The physical needs of your children. 
  • The mental health and awareness of each of your children, especially in reference to their age.

The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.  

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