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Best interests

Best interests or best interests of the child is the legal standard used by most courts in determining issues of child custody, child support and visitation (or access, as it is called in some jurisdictions) in regard to the child or children's parents or legal guardians. Such a test may be applied either in proceedings that involve the dissolution of marriage in common-law marriages or in the context of the dissolution of a civil union.

In determining the best interests of the child or children the court often orders various investigations to be undertaken by social workers, pscyhologists and other forensic experts, to determine the living conditions of the child and his custodial and non-custodial parents. Parents often request visitation or custody to fit their own interests, but the overriding consideration is how the child will benefit from interacting with his parents. Such issues as the stablility of the child's life, links with the community, stable home environment by the proposed custodial parents are some of the issues considered by a court in deciding the outcome of custody and visitation proceedings.