Principles Used to Determine the "Best Interest of the Child"
Courts are to assume the following in making a determination on the best interest of the child:
(1) It is important to maintain stability through family integrity and keeping the child in his or her home;
(2) It is important to protect the health and safety of the child;
(3) It is important to make a timely decision that will result in permanency and stability;
(4) It is important when a child is taken from his or her home that the child be given care, treatment, and guidance that will assist the child in developing into a self-sufficient adult.
Factors Used in Determining the Best Interest of the Child
Given the assumptions stated above, the Courts then consider the following factors:
(1) The ties between the child and his or her parents, siblings and other family members;
(2) The ability of the parents to provide food, shelter, medical care and other necessities for the child;
(3) The mental and physical health needs of the child;
(4) The mental and physical health of the parents;
(5) Whether there is a history of domestic violence in the home; and
(6) In some states the child's wishes, but most of these states require the child to have reached a certain age of maturity.