You and your spouse are going to get divorced, and you’re hoping that the two of you can amicably share custody of your child. You want your child to live with you at least part of the time so the two of you can maintain a strong relationship even as your marriage ends.
What you’re worried about is that your child isn’t going to see it the same way. Maybe your spouse has said that the two of you should just ask them where they want to live, and you’re worried that they’re going to pick living with your ex over living with you. Is this something you should be concerned about?
A child’s preference may factor in
If your child is old enough, you can ask them where they would like to live, and they may be able to express their preference during the divorce case. The court may be interested in finding out what the child would prefer if they were given the opportunity to set up the custody schedule on their own.
However, courts always work toward the best interests of the children, and there are a lot of different factors that go into that. They will consider things like the child’s specific needs, their age and gender, who was their main caretaker, what gives them the most stable home life, how they can stay near friends or stay in the same school, and many things beyond.
It is true that the child’s preference is one of the factors that the court will consider. If the child expresses a strong desire to spend more time with one parent, the court may be interested in the reason for that opinion.
But they are not going to simply give the child the choice and go along with whatever the child requests. For instance, it has generally been found that it’s best for children to spend time with both parents after a divorce, so the court may still rule in a way that gives both of you shared custody, regardless of what the child wants. In a situation like that, the court may assume they’re protecting the child from their own mistakes and making the decision that is truly in their best interests.
Setting up custody
If you are worried about a complicated custody situation and you want to make sure everything goes smoothly, just take the time to look into the legal steps needed to set everything up.