Tess explains the legal meaning of “best interests of the child.”
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Best interests of the child
Describes the "best interests of the child," which the law says parents and judges must consider in decisions about parenting.
Panel 1: Kiara and Tess in living room, Charlie playing on floor
Kiara: So how did it go yesterday at the legal clinic, Tess?
Panel 2: Tess drinking tea
Tess: It was great, Kiara – the law student there told me the parenting plan we write up should be all about Charlie’s best interests.
Kiara: What’s that mean?
Tess: She said it means it should be something a judge would agree is best for Charlie if I ever have to go to court.
Panel 4: Kiara holding Charlie’s hand
Kiara: Sure, “best interests” is what any parent would want too, right?
Panel 5: Charlie walking to Tess
Tess: Well, it’s even more than how it sounds – it means Charlie’s needs are the ONLY thing we can consider.
Kiara: For the parenting plan?
Panel 7: Tess hugging Charlie
Tess: For ANY decision that affects him. It’s not about our needs or just what’s convenient. Like they say, it’s not all about us!
Kiara: So what’s your parenting plan going to be?
Panel 9: Kiara and Tess sitting, Charlie sitting on Tess’s lap
Tess: Well, the law about best interests also says that Charlie’s life should be stable because he’s so young.
Panel 10: Charlie climbing down Tess’s lap
Tess: So we’ve decided he’ll keep living with me since Justin works a lot. But it might change when Charlie gets older.
Panel 11: Charlie reaches for plate of cookies
Panel 12: Charlie eating while women laugh
Kiara: Oops, looks like Charlie’s best interest right now is more chocolate chip cookies!