Spouses have many questions in the months and days leading up to their divorce and subsequent child-custody case. Perhaps the biggest is this: “can my child choose which parent they want to live with after divorce?”
Many people might think the answer is a resounding yes. After all, it’s the Court’s job to do whatever is in the best interest of the child. However, the simple reality is that such a big decision is rarely left in the hands of a child. Is it possible that a judge will ask your child in a private meeting who they want to live with? Directly, probably not but questions will be asked that will allow the court to conclude what the child’s preference is. But ultimately, judges base their decision on a variety of other factors.
One of many divorce myths people still believe today
Just like custody doesn’t always go to the mother in a child custody case, a child’s wishes aren’t typically the deciding factor in these types of cases, either. This is because a judge will not expect a minor child to understand the gravity of a divorce or properly express a reasonable preference between his or her mom and dad. Generally, if the child is 12 or above, the court will consider which parent the child would prefer living with. If the child is 18, they can choose who they want to live with. But by that point, they are considered adults and can come and go as they please.
When all is said and done, it is the goal of the court to provide a stable and caring home for the child while promoting a meaningful relationship with both parents. The main factors a judge will consider in determining custody include:
- The current living situation of the child.
- The child’s mental and emotional state.
- The ability or inability of both parents to raise the child.
- The stability of the home.
- Each parent’s future plans to raise the child.
- Whether or not one or both parents have caused harm or abused the child.
- If there is any evidence that suggests an improper relationship.
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A divorce is a significant, life-changing event, not just for you but also for your children. While you may think that your child can decide which parent they want to live with after the divorce, this is not always the case. A judge will always make the decision they feel is in the best interest of the child. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Our staff is always available. Give us a call today!
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Source: Nelson Law Group