What does it really mean to make a decision that is in the best interests of your child?

I regularly advise my clients that when it comes to matters involving custody and co-parenting, so long as you make decisions that are in the best interests of your child, you will make the right decision. However, I have been doing this long enough to recognize that parents can easily disagree on what is in their child’s best interests. So what does it really mean to make a decision based on the best interests of the child?

I believe it means prioritizing your child’s needs over your own. There are times when doing what is truly best for the child will mean you have to personally sacrifice, and you should be willing to do this because it’s not about you, and it’s not about the other parent, it’s about your child. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Last month a client called me to discuss an upcoming Mother’s Day event at his son’s preschool. The child had made homemade invitations to the event for both his mother (my client’s former wife) and his step-mother (my client’s current wife). Of course, both mother and step-mother wanted to attend the event to support the child, but the child’s mother had written to my client expressing her preference that his wife not attend the event. My client wanted his wife to attend the event, of course, because she has a close and loving relationship with the child and she wanted to be there to support him. However, the child’s mother and step-mother do not get along very well. So my question to my client was this: if both mother and step-mother attend the event at school, what will the experience be like for your son? Will he see two adults he loves modeling appropriate adult behavior? Will he be at ease and comfortable with both of them present?

Best interests of your child

After thinking it through, my client decided it would not be best for him son for his wife to attend the event. That was a very difficult decision to make because it made my client feel as though his former wife was controlling the situation; however, it was the right decision because it was focused just on what was best for the child.

Blog written by Courtney Smith

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