Best Interests of the Child Law and Legal Definition

Best interests of the child refers to the lawful determination by the law of a State with jurisdiction to decide whether a particular adoption or adoption-related action is in a child's best interests.

The following is an example of a case law on best interests of the child:

Best interests of the child means the sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated and determined by the court:

a. the love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the competing parties and the child;

b. the capacity and disposition of competing parties to give the child love, affection and guidance and continuation of the educating and raising of the child in its religion or creed, if any;

c. the capacity and disposition of competing parties to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs;

d. the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;

e. the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home;

f. the moral fitness of the competing parties;

g. the mental and physical health of the competing parties;

h. the home, school and community record of the child;

i. the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference; and

j. any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.[In re Stevens, 86 Mich. App. 258 (Mich. Ct. App. 1978)].