Can A Child Choose Which Parent To Live With?
Divorce is hard for everybody. As hard as the separation may be for you, it can be even more difficult for your child, who has no say in the matter. Your child may suddenly be facing an uncertain future, especially since many children have no idea where they will be living.
Do you have concerns about who your child will live with post-divorce? It's normal to have some concerns, but knowing what to expect will help with your peace of mind.
Mature Children May Offer an Opinion
If your child is considered old enough and mature enough to have an opinion in the matter, they may be asked to share it with the judge. The court tries not to have the child testify in court in front of others. Instead, your child will likely be asked their opinion in private so they are free to make a decision without pressure.
Depending on where you live, the judge may have to get permission from both parents to speak with the child about his or her preferences. Your attorney can advise you on how you should move forward with this request and how you can look out for your child's best interest.
Keep in mind that some children will struggle to express an opinion for fear of hurting one parent. In these cases, children may speak with a therapist and other professionals before they make a choice.
Children Do Not Have the Final Say
Ultimately, it is not up to the child to make this difficult decision. The child may express some opinions, but where they will live is ultimately up to the judge involved in the case. This ensures that the child is placed in a safe and loving home.
The judge will consider a variety of circumstances before they decide where the child will live. For example, a child might express that she wants to live with her mom because there are fewer rules in the home. The judge will consider this preference but will not base a decision only on this matter.
If you still have questions about your legal situation, it is a good idea to speak with a professional. A family law attorney can help you determine how you should move forward with a divorce or custody case to ensure that your child's best interests are protected. To learn more, speak with your lawyer about your specific circumstances.