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Do you understand the best interests of the child test?

When it comes to matters involving child custody and access, here is something you should remember: The court is going to focus primarily on what is best for the child. While both parents are part of the equation, it is the child that is most important.

The "best interests of the child test" is what the court uses when making any decision regarding custody or access. As the name suggests, the court is going to do what is in the best interest of the child, sometimes regardless of what the parents have to say about it.

There are a variety of factors that come into play, with the judge determining how much weight is placed on each factor. For this reason, no two cases are the same. In an overall sense, the judge is most interested in which parent can provide the most stable situation for the child. If both parents are able to do so in an equal manner, other details come into play.

As you go through divorce, as you deal with issues of child custody, don't forget that the person who matters most is your child. Even if you have your reasons for wanting the court to make a particular decision, you never want to do anything that could harm your child.

When you understand the best interests of the child test, it is easier to be clear as to what the court is looking at and how the process will proceed in Ontario. As a parent, you should be thinking along the same lines as the court. This means doing whatever is best for your child.

Source: Luke's Place, "What is the best interests of the child test?," accessed Feb. 25, 2016

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