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Can a Child Express Custody Preferences to the Court?

Child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of the divorce process. Ideally, child custody issues for families in Owings Mills may be resolved by the parents through mediation. But when the parents disagree, the judge will make the decisions regarding parenting arrangements. The preferences of the minor child may play a role in the judge’s decision. However, it is not typically the only factor that a divorce judge will consider. The judge will give greater weight to the preferences of the child when that child displays maturity and offers a well-reasoned explanation of why one parent is preferred over the other. Superficial reasons such as fewer rules at one house will not help a child’s case.

Even if a mature child has valid reasons why he or she prefers to primarily live with a particular parent, the judge is not likely to require the child to testify in court. Testifying in front of the parents can be psychologically damaging for a child of any age. Instead, the judge may decide to interview the child in chambers. Family lawyers may be present during the interview, but the parents will not be there.

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