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Do children have a say in custody cases?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2020 | Child Custody

The children are the ones who are impacted the most by a custody decision. Typically, though, parents think of custody as something that they decide, perhaps with the help of the court if they cannot come to an agreement on their own. But do the children have a say in this process? Can they make their wishes known?

The children cannot demand a certain custody arrangement, but they can certainly tell the court what they want and ask for a certain outcome. Their wishes may not bring about a specific resolution on their own, but they are one factor that courts consider. This is only true when they’re deemed old enough to have a say and an opinion. 

For instance, maybe you got divorced when your child was three. She did not have any say in it at that point, but your ex wound up getting custody most of the time. Now your child is 12, and she is telling you that she’d like to see you more than every other weekend. The court very well can take that into account and consider changing the custody arrangement. You and your ex can work together to figure out a new schedule that works now that your child is older. 

The reason that the court looks at it this way is that they care about the best interests of the child. When the child is old enough to express their wishes, that has a big impact on their satisfaction and overall happiness. That’s the goal of the custody arrangement. 

If you do want to modify custody, it’s important to do it properly, so be sure you understand the legal steps to take.