The best interests of a child refer to the circumstances and actions that foster the emotional and mental development, safety and security of the child. Connecticut is one of 21 states that lists specific factors the court must consider in a child custody case before issuing an order.
The law focuses on the relationships that the child has with his or her birth parents as well as other family and household members, aiming to ensure that these relationships are nurturing and safe for the child. The court also assesses how long the child’s birth parent or caregiver has retained custody of the child. In addition to these factors, the court has to consider the child’s age along with his or her medical and psychological needs.
While these are listed factors for the court to consider when determining the best interests of the child, Connecticut is one of 14 states that directs the court to also consider any other relevant factors in child custody cases. This might involve domestic violence or other circumstances that could affect the well-being of the child. Furthermore, the law in Connecticut does not allow the court to determine the best interests of the child based on the socioeconomic status of the caregiver or birth parents.
A child custody case could involve a combination of potential guardians, such as both birth parents, a birth parent and family member or two family members. Someone who is considering filing for child custody could ask a lawyer to assess their circumstances based on the best interests of the child to help them decide whether to file for custody.
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway , “Determining the Best Interests of the Child“, December 10, 2014