If you decide that you’d rather move on in life without your spouse than stay in an unhappy marriage, you understand from the start that your decision will have an immediate and far-reaching impact on your children’s lives. Minimizing disruption and stress will no doubt be two of your primary goals. Divorce isn’t easy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to ruin children’s lives.
When an Arkansas judge makes decisions about child support, custody, property division or other divorce-related matters, it’s always done with children’s best interests in mind. You might wonder, however, how this standard is met. What exactly does it mean to make children’s best interests a central focus of divorce proceedings?
Maintaining structure and routine
One of the ways that the court tries to keep children’s best interests in mind when making decisions during divorce proceedings is to consider ways to minimize disruption in their daily lives. In other words, the court typically believes that it’s best for kids to create a settlement that enables them to keep as much of their daily routines as possible.
Safety is always a factor when determining best interests
A main priority of the court is to make sure children are provided for and kept safe after a divorce. If the judge overseeing your case has even the slightest suspicion that your children are at risk in the presence of their other parent, he or she can order an investigation. Safety is always a number one priority in making certain that children’s best interests are being kept in mind in a divorce.
Each child’s age is important to in the decision-making process
Some decisions that the court makes during your divorce might pertain to your children as a whole family unit. At other times, however, the judge might carefully consider the age of each child in relevance to a specific issue. For instance, if you have teenagers, they’re old enough to express their opinions regarding how often they want to see their other parent or where they want to, full-time.
If you and your spouse disagree
The court can intervene to make child custody or property division decisions on your behalf, if you and your ex cannot reach an agreement on your own. You might feel strongly that a specific way of doings things is what’s best for your kids, while their other parent think’s it’s a bad idea and that their interests would be better served another way.
Keeping children’s best interests in mind means that you and your spouse are willing to cooperate with the court to execute a plan that provides for their physical, emotional and financial needs, as well as gives them an ample opportunity to maintain active relationships with both parents, if possible.