The Best Interests of the Child

The new Family Law Act in BC refers to the “best interests of the child” as the ONLY consideration when the courts and parents are making plans for children.  Section 37 (2) defines the child’s best interests as:

(a) the child’s health and emotional well-being;

(b) the child’s views, unless it would be inappropriate to consider them;

(c) the nature and strength of the relationships between the child and significant persons in the child’s life;

(d) the history of the child’s care;

(e) the child’s need for stability, given the child’s age and stage of development;

(f) the ability of each person who is a guardian or seeks guardianship of the child, or who has or seeks parental responsibilities, parenting time or contact with the child, to exercise his or her responsibilities;

(g) the impact of any family violence on the child’s safety, security or well-being, whether the family violence is directed toward the child or another family member;

(h) whether the actions of a person responsible for family violence indicate that the person may be impaired in his or her ability to care for the child and meet the child’s needs;

(i) the appropriateness of an arrangement that would require the child’s guardians to cooperate on issues affecting the child, including whether requiring cooperation would increase any risks to the safety, security or well-being of the child or other family members;

(j) any civil or criminal proceeding relevant to the child’s safety, security or well-being.”

Click on the link below for more information regarding what the court will consider when determining the best interests of children.

http://wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca/index.php/Children_in_Family_Law_Matters#The_best_interests_of_the_children

As a mediator, when I am working with parents, I support them to look at their children’s needs and find ways where both of them can be involved and ensure their children’s best interests are met.  This is possible even if parents have different views about what is in their child’s best interest.  All children want a close, positive relationship with their parents (even if sometimes it doesn’t seem like it).  Mediation can assist parents to develop a productive co-parenting relationship for the sake of their kids.