The underlying issue in any child custody case is the best interests of the children involved. This topic influences any and all decisions a family makes related to custodial matters. However, divorced or separated parents may be justly concerned about who makes that determination.
This is especially true when a case involves young children, as their relative lack of maturity may make it difficult for them to adequately express what they want. The danger present in such scenarios is for the court to go too far in applying its own interpretation as to what it believes to be in a kid’s best interest.
Weighing parental rights when non-parents seek custody
A recent decision that was closely watched by family law bar associations across the country offers a good example of when this might occur. At the heart of the matter was the custody of a young girl whose mother died in a car accident while a petition seeking a modification of her custody agreement was pending with the lower court.
Sole custody was initially awarded to the girl’s father, but the mother’s fiancé later petitioned for custody himself. The first judge to hear the case ruled in the fiancé’s favor.
The state Supreme Court reversed that decision, however, stating that the fact that the girl’s father was a fit parent overruled any right the lower court had to presume what might have been in the child’s best interests.
Fighting for what is best for your kids
This case demonstrates the complexities that can arise during custody proceedings. When it comes to one’s kids, it’s important to do what’s best for them and the desire to fight for what you believe is best is understandable. The important part is getting a judge or opposing party to understand your point of view. An experienced attorney may be a valuable ally to have in such a fight.