Do Children Have A Say In Child Custody Matters?
Divorce really is hardest on the kids, but they still sometimes have preferences about which parent they would like to live with afterwards. There are many factors a family law judge will consider when determining whether or not to take the child’s preference into account when making a final decision. Below, our Media child custody attorney explains what these are and other issues that may arise during these disputes.
Factors Considered Regarding a Child’s Custody Preference
Under state law, there is no minimum age limit for when family law judges will consider a child’s preference during a custody dispute. Judges can consider the age, intelligence, maturity level, and the reason for a child wanting to live with one parent instead of the other.
As in all other states, the only factors considered during child custody disputes in Pennsylvania is what is in the best interests of the child. A child’s reasoning for wanting to live with one parent is given great weight because that is in their best interests.
For example, if a child states they would prefer to live with one parent because the other party is stricter and has more rules, their preference would likely not have any bearing on a custody matter. Contrary to this, if a child wants to live with one parent because they are more loving and more supportive than the other parent, that could affect their best interests and so, a judge would be more likely to take their preference into consideration.
Family law judges are also more likely to consider a child’s preference when they are older and more mature. For instance, while the preference of a five-year-old may not be given great weight, the reasonable preference of a 15-year-old might.
Do Children Testify in Custody Disputes?
The family law courts generally want to protect children from the devastating impacts of divorce and testifying in court. Children still deserve to have their voices heard, though, but this is usually done in the judge’s chambers in private.
Call Our Child Custody Attorney in Media for Help with Your Case
If you are going through a divorce and children are involved, custody issues may become quite contentious. At Barbara Flum Stein & Associates, our Media child custody attorney can provide the sound legal advice you need and answer all of your questions so you have the best chance of obtaining a favorable outcome. Call or text us today at 610-565-6100 or chat with us online to book a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.