Going through a contested child custody dispute is one of the most difficult
experiences most parents will ever endure. Contrary to what some believe,
however, your children cannot decide which parent they will live with
in the aftermath of a divorce or legal separation. After examining several
factors, a judge will decide where the children will live.
How a Judge Determines Child Custody
The preference of your children cannot determine where they will live.
That said, if your children are a little older and more mature, their
preference might be considered. Ultimately, if their preference does not
serve their best interests, a judge will not factor this into your custody
arrangement. Even if the judge on your case were to consider your children’s
opinions, he or she would also consider several other factors before making
a decision, including:
- The overall health and mental wellbeing of each parent and the children
- The relationship between the children and each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide for the children
- The willingness of each parent to help facilitate a relationship between
the children and their other parent
- If there is a history of domestic violence or child abuse
- If either parent has a history of substance abuse
- If either parent has a history of interfering with the other’s visitation rights
- The educational and social record of the children
- The individual needs of each child
Why Children Are Not Allowed to Determine Custody
Children need healthy, consistent, and stable environments to thrive and,
unfortunately, their preference might not be based on which parent can
best provide that. Children might prefer to live with the parent who has
more lax rules, a nicer home, a cooler car, or provides more allowance
money. If a parent is trying to alienate the children from their other
parent, this could also affect their decision. Therefore, judges generally
do not give a lot of weight to a child’s preference.
Moreover, children already have a lot on their plate during a divorce.
Having to choose a parent to live with will only increase their anxiety
during this difficult time, which is why it is the court’s job to
determine what is in their best interests.
Schedule a Consultation with a Family Law Attorney Today!
Divorce is difficult for a family to endure, but the process can go a lot smoother
with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. At the Law
Office of Kathryn Marteeny, our family law team has more than three decades
of experience and a history of proven success. You can rely on our knowledge,
skill, and compassion to guide you through your divorce and to protect
the best interests of your children. Our team has already helped hundreds
of families and would be honored to do the same for you.
Call our law office today at (713) 936-2300 to schedule a consultation with
one of our attorneys to learn more about how our team can assist you.