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How does Alaska family law protect a child’s best interests?

In Anchorage and throughout Alaska, many marriages do not work out. These unions end in divorce. While this is unfortunate, there are times when it is necessary and the parties will benefit from moving on. Still, there are inevitable issues that will arise and be in dispute. A frequent concern is protecting children. Often, both parents want custody. When one parent is granted custody, the other parent will request reasonable visitation rights.

The circumstances will determine how this is allocated, but a key factor is the child’s best interests. Understanding what is considered in the context of best interests is a fundamental factor in the case. The child’s development in a mental, physical, emotional, religious and social way are all analyzed. The parents must meet the child’s needs and they must be willing to take the necessary steps to address these considerations. A child may be left out of the process as parents are in dispute over who gets custody and the visitation rights. However, the child might be of sufficient maturity and at an age where he or she can express preferences. The court will take this into consideration.

The parents must show love and affection for the child. This can be gauged and the court can decide accordingly. Environmental factors are part of the process. If a child is thriving and happy with the living arrangement and continuity will be served by allowing the child to stay in a residence, this can be a critical aspect. Parents are encouraged to foster the child’s relationship with the other parent. Provided it is safe to have visitation rights, contentious issues between the parents should be put aside for the good of the child. Parents who can accomplish this are serving the child’s needs.

Of course, a dangerous situation can be problematic. If there was abuse, domestic violence, neglect or substance abuse, the court will take that into account. Any factor that is deemed important to the child’s safety and development can be considered as the decision is made. Naturally, it is preferable for the parents to agree on their own as to the parenting plan. In many instances, that is possible. For some, it is not. A law firm with experience in all areas of family law can provide advice and guidance in a case. Having help with serving the child’s best interests and assisting the parents in coming to an acceptable agreement might be essential.