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Minnesota and Wisconsin Best Interest of the Child Factors

Courts make a variety of decisions that affect children, including placement and custody determinations, safety and permanency planning, and proceedings for termination of parental rights. Whenever a court makes such a determination, it must weigh whether its decision will be in the "best interests" of the child.

Best Interests Definition

Although there is no standard definition of "best interests of the child," the term generally refers to the deliberation that courts undertake when deciding what type of services, actions, and orders will best serve a child as well as who is best suited to take care of a child. "Best interests" determinations are generally made by considering a number of factors related to the circumstances of the child and the circumstances and capacity of the child's potential caregiver(s), with the child's ultimate safety and well-being as the paramount concern.

Federal and/or State Constitutional protections.

Minnesota and Wisconsin law provides that its processes related to reports of child abuse or neglect are to be carried out within a judicial framework that recognizes and enforces the constitutional and other rights of the parties involved. Laws shall be interpreted so as to provide a means through which parties are afforded a fair hearing and assured the recognition of their constitutional and legal rights.

Click here to view Minnesota Best Interest of the Child Factors
Click here to view Wisconsin Best Interest of the Child Factors