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Determining best interests of the child is not always easy

Oregon parents tend to have the same top priority when filing for divorce -- their children. However, while most parents agree that custody plans should be based on the best interests of the child, it is not quite as easy to agree on what those interests are. While this can sometimes be decided through negotiation or mediation, court intervention is sometimes necessary.

When parents are tasked with determining their child's best interests, this means that they must create a custody arrangement that fosters the child's security, happiness and mental health. Since no two children or families are alike, there is no blanket solution that can be applied across the board. For some, this means creating an arrangement in which a child can maintain close relationships with both of his or her parents. For others, it might be better to maintain a primary relationship with only one parent.

Although this task might seem overwhelming at first, parents can take a variety of factors into consideration. A child's medical or special needs, desire for a stable home life and the physical and mental health of their parents are just some of these factors. Community and extended family support is important for others. If old enough, a child's opinion might even be included into the discussion.

When parents can conclude what the best interests of the child are through alternative dispute resolutions, they can usually create an agreeable custody arrangement without intervention from the court. However, doing so is not necessarily easy for some parents in Oregon. When custody cannot be determined otherwise, parents can go before a family law judge who will create a plan on their behalf.

Source: FindLaw, "Focusing on the 'Best Interests' of the Child", Accessed on Aug. 22, 2016

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