Best Interest of the Child

best interests of the child

In most cases, the best interest of the child is settled in court with a judge deciding on what he or she believes is the best interest of the child. Best interest for the child is always factored in with child support cases and paternity establishment cases.

Normally, judges rule in favor of the mother. The legal system in every state believes the best option is the mother for care in most instances in America. The purpose of this post is to share with you another perspective on how to argue the best interest of a child for paternity establishment situations. Although, what is being said often mentioned in posts and articles online and books but, from my conversation with fathers. It has been seldom discussed in real-time court situations. This perspective can be used when petitioning a judge to force the mother to go to court to establish paternity by way of a DNA test.

Best Interest Argument

Over the years, I have come to realize that when alleged fathers go to court they hardly ever argue the best interest of the child. What they tend to do is, argue logic. Now, in family court logic is not at the forefront of the situation. What is though is the best interest standards for children.

So, how does an alleged father argue the best interest? Simple! By appealing to the judge or magistrate’s sensibility as it pertains to best interest. For example, If the best interest for a child is the standard then the health of the child is included both in the short and long term. So alleged fathers should bring up the reasoning for wanting to perform paternity is because you want to make sure that you can help the child in the event he or she may need a bone marrow transplant or blood transfusion. If you are not the biological father of the child and you will not be able to truly assist in the situation. Only the real biological father may be able to do so.

Stressing the importance of knowing who the biological father is, in terms of the best interest of the child instead of focusing the argument on yourself in court could persuade the judge or magistrate to perform a DNA Paternity Test to determine paternity. Remember, this can be argued in most circumstances.

Although, I have shared this with several men over the years. Only a few attempted and have found success with the judge allowing a paternity test to be performed. Half of these cases the alleged fathers were the father. In the other half, the men were terminated from further child support payments but, if they owed back arrears they were ordered to pay the back payments.

Now, if the mother is not married then filing the petition with the court is probably the only way to force the mother to perform a DNA test. Outside of filing a paternity petition. The only other method is by having good communication with the mother and hoping she is in agreement with DNA testing. Other than the previous mention options. I am unaware of another method that is court admissible to force a mother to allow a man who believes he is the father of a child to perform a paternity test.

Like I stated earlier having a good or decent relationship with the mother is the only other option. It would be wise to move immediately if you are able to get the mother to agree to a DNA test. Often times alleged fathers drag their feet leaving the door open for some mothers o change their minds. Which is quite often in the paternity testing industry.

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How does a judge determine the best interest of a child?

The American family court system base’s their decisions regarding child custody on the best interest of the child standard. Essentially, what this means is that a judge takes into consideration a variety of factors that will be for the best interest of the child when it comes to custody arrangements. It is important to note, What a judge considers will vary from state to state. So it important not to compare one state’s case to you and expect the same result. Here are some of the factors/examples of what a judge will consider when determining what he or she perceives as the best interest of a child.

1. A judge will scrutinize each parent’s ability to parent based on the presentation of the evidence.

2. The court always looks for evidence that the parent requesting custody is sincere and genuine in their ability to truly meet their child’s physical and emotional needs. The basic needs a judge considers are the ability to provide food, shelter, clothing, education, medical care, parental guidance, and loving support.

3. Another aspect judges often consider is the physical and mental health stability of the requesting parent. Which would go a long way towards proving the best interest of the child?

4. Consistency! Family courts always lean toward keeping child in a consistent routine. An example of a consistent routine would be the living arrangements of the requesting parent, school/childcare routines and any access to extended family members like grandparents, aunt and uncles etc. Important to keep in mind that Family Court Judges do not like to disrupt a child’s routine if possible.

5. A child’s age. Being that younger children need more attention and care. The courts also look at how the child bonds with the requesting parent. In most cases, the judge would defer to the primary caregiver in the child’s life which in most instances is the mother. There is time when a judge will consider the child’s perspective. This would, of course, depend upon the age of the child that the judge would give such consideration. 6. Safety. The safety and protection of the child is probably the top factor in family court. If a judge believes a child’s safety may be compromised custody will be denied.

7. Excessive routine changing and how it impacts the child. The court tries to determine how the constant change in the child’s routine will affect the child. Remember, judges like a routine for children which for judges deem the best interest for the child.

Also, showing the judge your active involvement in your child’s life will go a long way towards receiving the type custody you seek. Displaying attentiveness and loving care is paramount. Some of the ways that this can be displayed is by, partaking in your child schooling, extracurricular activities and any activity that embellishes the child’s upbringing. What can be difficult in some custody cases is when a judge has two parents involved. The judge has to decipher which parent exhibits the willingness to work with the other parent to build trust with the situation.

It is important to note, defining the best interest standards are not as cut and dry. In fact, it is a very difficult process being that every custody case is different and provides its own set of challenges for a judge. Not to mention, when you include the state law figuring out best interest standards is quite the task. If you are in need of additional information regarding your custody situation. I always recommend that you seek a legal professional to advise you on your unique circumstance within your state. Also, I strongly encourage before seeking legal advice from a family law attorney or paralegal. I recommend you perform your own set of research regarding your state’s law regarding custody cases. This way, you can better discern which legal professional you decide to use is providing sound advice. Always, remember to background check the family law legal professional you decide to employ for advice. Please check out my new e-book on Amazon called Are You or, Are You Not The Father? The Complete How-To Guide To The Paternity Testing Process.