Things to Know About Children Wishes in Custody Proceedings

young boy holding paper dolls

Can a child decide which parent should get custody? If yes, at what age must be the child? If not, who makes this crucial decision? Here are things you should know concerning a kid’s parental preferences in a child custody case.

1. A kid can state a preference at any age.

Children, irrespective of their age, may express their preference regarding which parent they wish to live with. The kid’s parental inclination may then carry specific consequences for the parents.

2. A child’s wishes may carry more weight if she is 14.

While a family court may consider the wishes of every child, the court will take an older kid’s desires more seriously. If the kid is at least 14 years old, her preferences are likely to influence the custody judgment more.

3. A child’s desires may not mirror her best interests.

Does your child prefer the other parent over you? Fortunately, when it comes to ascertaining what’s in a minor’s best interests, a judge enjoys the power of free decision. Accordingly, your child custody attorney in Albuquerque can still help you prove to the court how the kid’s wishes differ with her best interests.

4. It’s the judge, not the child, who ultimately decides.

A child’s parental inclination forms an essential part of the evidence. However, at the end of every custody case, it is the court that must decide who gets the child. Besides the child’s preference, the judge must also consider each parent’s wishes and mental and physical health. Other factors when making the custody decision include the kid’s mental and physical well-being, relationships, and adjustment.

The primary responsibility in a child custody case involves determining the kid’s best interests. Accordingly, the court is likely to be interested in hearing every child’s wishes. However, the decision to consider the preferences doesn’t mean the judge has to grant them.