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Q: lawyer says the court could decide custody. what does the best interest of the child test mean?

A: Your lawyer is talking about section 37 of the BC Family Law Act, which requires the court only consider the best interests of the child when making decisions on parenting or contact. A parent’s conduct is not considered by the courts, unless that parent’s conduct affects the child. A decision is only in the best interest of the child if it protects the child’s physical, psychological, and emotional safety, security and well-being. To decide this, the court is going to consider factors such as the child’s health, their views, the child’s history of care, their existing relationships and the need to maintain them, their need for stability, as well as a parent’s capacity to meet the child’s needs and their ability to cooperate. The court will also look at whether there’s been family violence, and how that has impacted the child. It is never presumed by the court that equal division of parenting time or parental responsibilities is in a child’s best interests. It is essential that you have all of the evidence you need to prove what arrangements are in the child’s best interests, which may require an expert report.

*Any guidance provided is not covered by solicitor client privilege, nor is it taking into consideration all of the facts of your matter beyond those in the question. The legal information is specific to British Columbia Law. If you want a more thorough and case-specific analysis of your legal matter please CONTACT US to arrange a consultation.

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