When the court is deciding where the child will live and with which parent, it considers the child’s best interests. There are many factors that the court will look at when determining the best interests of a child.
A child’s preference for one parent over the other is one of many factors that can be important to the court. Generally speaking, the court will take the child’s preferences into deeper consideration when the child is old enough and mature enough to give well-considered reasons for that preference.
Yet, the court won’t grant custody just because a child likes one parent over the other.
When can children declare parental preference?
The court will value the opinion of older and more mature children. However, there’s no set age for a child to decide who to live with so long as they are under 18 years of age.
Can you influence your child’s preferences?
You shouldn’t take measures to get your child to say they want to live with you. Bribing your child with gifts, being more lenient or any other behavior that can influence your child’s preferences may actually hurt your custody case if the court finds out.
The court decides child custody – Not the child
If you’re going through a custody battle, it’s essential that you know your child cannot determine custody. But if you and your ex cannot agree on whom your child should live with, it’s a good idea to seek legal guidance when creating a parenting plan. A balanced child custody schedule will be more likely to be approved by the court.