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Family Divorce And Division

Do Children Get a Say in Custody Agreements?

Child custody cases are difficult and draining. Many details will play a part in determining the best situation for your family. Your children may or may not have a say in these matters, depending on their age and capacity to comprehend the situation.

What Factors Influence a Judge’s Custody Decision?

Judges take child-related matters seriously. They understand the decisions they make can have a strong impact on a child’s present and future. Therefore, judges consider several factors when making child custody determinations.

Michigan judges follow the “best interests of the child” standard. Under this standard, judges aim to do what is in a child’s best interests, which involves carefully reviewing certain details:

  • The relationship and emotional ties the child has with each parent
  • The capacity and willingness of each parent to continue raising their child and showing them love, care, and support
  • The capacity and willingness of each parent to provide the child with the basic needs and medical care they require
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home for the child
  • Each parent’s mental and emotional health
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage and facilitate a close relationship with the other parent
  • Whether either parent has any history of domestic violence

The judge will consider these factors and any other relevant details before making a decision.

Whether the judge grants sole or joint custody depends on the children’s and parents’ circumstances and what the judge thinks would benefit the children most. Generally, judges prefer granting shared custody as long as it is in the child’s best interests.

How Much Weight Does a Child’s Desires Hold on Custody Matters?

Among the other factors judges consider for child custody cases, they sometimes take the child’s wishes into account. This usually depends on the child’s age and ability to comprehend the situation.

It is important to understand that children do not get to decide where they live until they turn 18. At that point, they are adults who can make their own decisions under the law. Nonetheless, some judges want to hear from the minor children involved in custody cases.

Whether a child’s opinion carries weight in custody matters is situational. Usually, judges want to hear from older children, generally those 12 to 17 years old. Still, a judge may be interested in hearing from a child as young as six. It all depends on the child’s maturity, disposition, and capacity to understand.

Even if a judge cares to hear what a minor child has to say, they won’t base their entire opinion on the child’s preferences. The judge will take the full situation into account before making a decision.

Rely on a Skilled Child Custody Attorney

If you’re wondering whether your child’s opinions and desires will matter in your custody case, discuss it with your family law attorney. Your lawyer can provide personalized advice.

The legal team at Gucciardo Family Law offers quality representation, empowering you to do what’s best for you and your children. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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