Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live with in Arizona?
Most of us have seen movies where the kids are involved in a tug-of-war with their parents. They kind of understand what’s going on, however, kids rarely accept the permanency of a divorce. Deep down, most kids think there’s a chance their parents will get together. Or they blame themselves for the divorce in the first place. In order to protect your children, your Arizona divorce lawyer will insist that you involve them as little as possible. You may be wondering where this leaves you as far as custody is concerned. Is it okay to ask your children they’d rather live with? Here, we’ll discuss how a child’s opinion is handled by the court. We’ll also discuss how dangerous it is to get your kids’ hopes up.
The Age of the Children Will Impact this Decision
A lot of our clients ask at what age Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live with. The truth is that there is no cutoff when it comes to a child’s having a say in custody matters. Some Arizona divorce lawyers think the cutoff is 10 years old. Others think it’s 14. The courts have no hard-set rule as to when a child’s opinion matters as far as custody is concerns. The court may give a little more credence to a teenager’s opinion than a child who is 10 or 11 years old. They’re a little more mature than younger children. But that doesn’t mean your child’s choice will be honored. The judge won’t even discuss the issue of custody with the children.
You Never Want to Ask Your Children to Make this Decision
No matter how desperate you are to have custody of the kids, never involve them in these decisions. A child should never be put in this position. They fear that any answer they give is wrong. If they say they want to live with their dad, then mom will be hurt. This doesn’t mean your Arizona divorce lawyer can’t ask for a psychological examination to be done on the kids just to determine their level of maturity, choices and other matters.
Arizona Divorce Lawyers Know Your Child’s Choice May Not Matter
In most cases, the child’s desire to live with one parent over the other won’t matter to a judge. Clearly, if there’s abuse going on with either parent, the judge will take it into consideration. The same is true if the kids report a desire to live with one parent or the other. The judge may give their opinion some weight or none at all. The court only cares about what’s in the best interest of the kids. Whether this matches what the child wants is a separate issue.
Visit with Our Arizona Divorce Lawyers Sooner Rather than Later
Getting divorced can be hard on a married couple. The only people it’s harder on is their children. No matter what you and your spouse say, your kids are going to think they somehow caused the divorce. This is why it’s never a good idea to speak negatively about the divorce process. Your Arizona divorce lawyer will remind you of this time and time again. You also want to be careful about asking your kids who they want to live with. They know that whatever answer they give, they’re hurting somebody’s feelings. You’re also giving them what could be false hope about having a say in child custody. Before you do anything about custody, make sure you talk to your Arizona divorce lawyer. The sooner you get then involved, the better off you’ll be.