Mom and daughter outside smiling.

Determining The Best Interests of a Child

An inevitable part of divorce for parents is establishing a custody agreement. While it is possible to negotiate and work together on agreements, they still have to put the needs of the children above all else. Custody agreements have to be court-approved, meaning that if the judge disagrees with the set terms, revisions will have to occur. In the courts, this idea of meeting a child’s needs is referred to as the best interests of the child.

Circling Eagle Law can help explain what courts mean when they reference the best interests of a child. Furthermore, we can explain how this may change in certain circumstances, such as Tribal court.

What Are The Best Interests?

All decisions made regarding children during a divorce have the potential to impact their life drastically. This is why the courts take these decisions very seriously, keeping in mind several key factors. Of course, these do not necessarily apply to every divorce case, but in general, the courts will determine the best interests of the child based on these factors:

  • The living situation of each parent. Sometimes the parent in the family home maintains primary custody of the child.

  • Each parent’s ability to support the other’s relationship with their children. If you are not cooperative or attempt to alienate the other parent, this will impact the court’s decision.

  • The nature of the child’s relationship with each parent before the divorce occurs is another factor of consideration.

  • Each parent's ability to provide the children with the stability needed to succeed. A divorce already presents enough changes in a child’s life.

  • The courts will also consider any present abuse or neglect in the child’s life, limiting contact with a specific parent if necessary.

A Tribal Court Perspective

While there are general components to keep in mind when determining the best interests of a child, there are unique circumstances that can influence decisions made. For example, if a dispute regarding an Indian child is initially in state courts, a transfer of the case to Tribal courts may be in the best interests of the child. Tribal courts are best situated to make decisions regarding Indian children and custody. Furthermore, in Tribal courts, there is more focus on recommendations from elders, respecting the continuity of culture and tradition.

Knowledgeable Child Custody Attorneys

If you are going through a divorce with children, it is important to reach an agreement regarding your custody arrangement. The team at Circling Eagle Law is experienced in both state and Tribal courts and can bring multiple perspectives to your unique case.


Call us at (701) 401-7404 to speak with our attorneys about your child custody agreement today!


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