Calgary Best Interests Child Custody Lawyers help Calgary family law clients resolve their child custody and child parenting disagreements. The test the Courts and Calgary Best Interests Child Custody Lawyers apply is child centric, meaning the Judge focuses on the child’s needs not on the parents’.
Peter Graburn, our senior Calgary family lawyer who heads our Calgary family lawyers office, explains what Judges look at in deciding what plan best suits the child before the Courts. Of course our Calgary Best Interests Child Custody Lawyers will focus on getting the matter resolved without the stress of court.
In today’s Blog, our top rated Calgary Best Interests Child Custody Lawyers Answer the Key Question:
What Does “BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD” mean?
In a previous post, “Custody in a Nutshell” – Parenting vs. Custody, we discussed how custody and parenting decisions of children are often decided on some well-established general principals, including:
- that a child should have as much contact with each parent as possible;
- that a child should have short, frequent contact with each parent;
- whether a parent encouraged contact with the other parent, and;
- what is in the best interest of the child.
But how do parents (and if the parents cannot agree, the Courts) in Alberta decide what is in the best interests of their children?
Legislation (government –created law) has been passed that helps determine what is to be considered when looking at the best interests of a child. If a couple are married with children and are separating, the federal Divorce Act basically sets out the principles discussed above.
Calgary Best Interests Child Custody Lawyers 403-444-5503
Perhaps more helpful, Alberta’s Family Law Act (which applies to both “common-law” couples or married spouses not getting divorced), after giving the general direction that to determine what is in the child’s best interest, the Court must:
ensure the greatest possible protection of the child’s physical, psychological and emotional safety (parenting ability), and:
consider all the child’s need and circumstances (all other factors);
goes on to give some more specific examples of what should be taken into account in determining the child’s best interests, including:
- The child’s age and stage of development;
- The child’s previous care history;
- The child’s cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage;
- The child’s own views and preferences, to the extent it is appropriate to determine them;
- Future plans for the child’s care and upbringing;
- History of family violence;
- The relationships between the child and others;
- The parents’ ability and willingness to act as full guardians of the child;
- Any civil or criminal proceedings that are relevant to the child’s safety or well-being.
Fortunately, the common-law (Court-created law) has gone even further to give some even more specific examples of what should be taken into account to determine what is in the best interest of the child, including:
- The mental and physical health of the parents;
- If a child has special needs, how does each parent take care of those needs;
- The need for the continuation of a stable home environment;
- Other children who are involved in the child’s custody arrangement;
- Support and interaction with extended family members such as grandparents;
- Adjustment to school and community;
- Age and sex of the child;
- Parental use of excessive discipline or emotional abuse;
- Parental use of drugs and alcohol.
Calgary Best Interests Child Custody Lawyers Can Help Focus Parties On a Plan For Success
Identifying what factors should be taken into account in determining what is in the best interests of children (and what evidence is required to present those factors in Court) is often confusing. Our skilled and experienced Calgary Child Custody lawyers can explain to our clients steps a Court will go through to determine the best interests of children in cases brought to Court, and assist them in getting the type of custody and parenting arrangement that is in the best interest of their children. =
Call our Calgary Best Interests Child Custody Lawyers now to get started on a plan that maximizes your child’s best interests and minimizes expense and stress. Call Peter Graburn now at 403-444-5503.