To what extent will a court consider children’s preference in determining custody?
When parents are able to agree on who takes custody, a court will almost always follow their choice. When divorcing spouses battle over the issue, however, the court has to decide what will best meet the interests of the children. And this makes things considerably more complicated.
A court has to weigh many variables in ruling on a custody case, and it may seek the advice of an impartial social worker or therapist. While no state gives children a controlling voice in determining custody, their preferences will generally be considered.
In fact, in at least two states-California and Colorado-courts are required to give due weight to the preferences of children who are “of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference.” No exact age is set; what is involved is the child’s maturity, something that the court will assess with the help of advisers.
However, no court will give children final responsibility for the decision. And, obviously, it will be best if you and your ex-spouse can work this out on your own, rather than leaving such a vital decision to a court.