Does Your Child’s Preference Matter When Child Custody is Decided in Sandy Court?

by Alexander Griffin
Does Your Child’s Preference Matter When Child Custody is Decided in Sandy Court?

If you and your spouse have children and want to file for divorce, you must consider many things apart from marriage dissolution. You should also resolve matters such as child custody and co-parenting arrangements. If you cannot agree on child custody and visitation, a family judge will make the decision for you after they consider some factors. Sometimes, the preference of your child is one of these factors. Your sandy child custody attorney can help you understand when a child’s preference may matter.

Can Your Child Choose Who to Live With?

If you should resolve your child custody case in court, a judge will consider some factors to figure out a solution in the best interest of your child. They will consider elements such as the caregiving history of the parent with the child, how capable and stable the spouses are as parents, the health and safety of the child, substance abuse history of the parents, where the siblings of the child are living, and the preference of the child. 

While a judge may consider the preference of your child, it’s just one of the many factors they think about. Family judges should use discretion as they weigh your child’s preference. Also, they consider the reason for this preference. 

When Can Your Child Make a Choice

Ultimately, your child can’t be the only person to choose which parent to live with until they turn 18. But a judge should give weight to a child’s preference when they are at least 14 years old. Keep in mind though that, their preference is not the only controlling factor. 

Kids do not have to be in court to testify about custody preference. But when the judge wants their input, they can use a guardian ad litem, a mediator, or an investigator to obtain information on the opinion of the child. 

In terms of custodial preference, the maturity of the child is a significant factor. Some younger kids would want to stay with a parent with more relaxed rules or a bigger house than their other parent. A more mature child will express valid reasons for why they will stay with one parent over another. In this case, a judge may take their opinion into account. 

What If Your Child Does Not Want to Be One Parent?

Working with a teenager who has friends, cars, and opinions can be impossible. However, before you get them involved, keep in mind that family judges need more than just a child’s age when they make a decision. What you can do for your teen is to encourage them to stick with the custody schedule. If this does not work, you may need to involve a therapist or other people to resolve custody issues.

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