Q. In a Mesa, AZ child custody case, what is considered in the best interests of the child?

A. During a Mesa, AZ child custody case, the phrase “best interest of the child” is often used, which can leave many parents wondering what this phrase actually means in relation to Arizona law. The best way to understand what is meant by the “best interest” of the child is the situation that most completely meets the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs. The court determines what custody arrangement is to the child’s benefit. The courts may leave custody as it was originally, or they may petition for modification (a change of custody) depending on the best interests of the child. When the courts make a decision on the best interests of the child they always consider the following factors:

  1. Which parent the child wishes to have custody.
  2. The relationship between the child and the child’s parents.
  3. The child’s siblings if there are any.
  4. How much the child would need to adjust to home, school, and community.
  5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  6. Which parent will allow most frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent. This is not applicable if the court determines that a parent is preventing contact to protect the child from being a victim of, witnessing, or being surrounded by domestic violence or child abuse.
  7. Whether one, both, or none of the parents previously provided primary care for the child.
  8. The amount of coercion or physical pressure by a parent in order to gain agreement of the child regarding custody.
  9. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title.
  10. Whether a parent was convicted of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under § 13-2907.03.
  11. Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse as defined in §25-403.03.

During the court proceedings, the parents filing for child custody should be aware that a court will record all relevant facts and reasons on the decision of the best interests of the child. This may help in further cases of the same nature, or cases presented by the same petitioner. To schedule a child custody or divorce phone consultation with JacksonWhite’s Mesa, AZ family law attorney, call 480-464-1111.