Although child custody is often evident in divorce proceedings, there are other instances where child custody decisions must be made. In situations where neither parent is available to care for their child, the court has to step in and decide where the child will reside. In making child custody decisions, the courts use the best interest of the child standard. This standard looks at all the facts and circumstances of the situation and then applies those to what is in the child's best interest. Sometimes all parties involved agree with the court's decision and sometimes they don't.
In Sterling Heights, Michigan, a judge recently awarded custody to the maternal grandfather following the death of the minor child's mother. When the child's mother was killed, the child's grandfather immediately began caring for the child. The father of the child had been found not suitable to care for his son since he has a recent prior child molestation conviction and now must register as a sex offender. The judge in the case made it clear that the grandfather was the best choice in terms of custody because he has provided his grandson with a stable home life.
The courts can consider a number of different factors in order to make sure that the child's needs are met. Along with taking into account all of the facts of a particular situation; the court can also take the child's own feelings into consideration if the child is old enough to express his or her preference. The court also balances the needs of the child against other factors that are deemed important. At the end of the day, however, the court must focus on what is in the absolute best interest of the child.
Child custody decisions are not taken lightly by the court and every effort is made to give the child the best, most supportive, most beneficial surroundings possible.
Source: Advisor & Source Newspapers, "Slain Sterling Heights woman's father wins custody of her son," Jameson Cook, July 2, 2013