As a parent who is going through a divorce, you know that both you and your spouse have a similar goal: You want to spend time with your child after the split. You hope to share custody.
However, your child has expressed a desire to live with only your ex. You’re suddenly concerned that you’re not going to see them nearly as much as you want — if at all. Can they make this decision?
The child’s wishes may be considered, but not exclusively
What your child wants can be considered by the court under state law. If they tell the court that they would rather live with your ex, the court can keep that in mind when making a child custody ruling.
However, this is not exclusive in the sense that it is not the only factor that the court will consider. Other factors include:
- Family relationships
- Mental condition
- Physical condition
So, if you are worried about your child making this decision on their own, don’t be. The child can insist on living with your ex, and if the court decides it would really be in their best interests to see both of you, the court does not have to adhere to these wishes. They can order split custody anyway.
The idea here is that children may not always know what their own best interests are. The court will listen to their requests but may decline to follow them.
Understanding what steps to take
Child custody rulings are binding and incredibly important. Make sure you know what legal steps to take during this process.