Your children have expressed the desire to live with your ex. The two of you are going through a divorce, and you’ve been talking with them about where they’re going to live.
What concerns you is that you are hoping to share custody of the children. You want them to live with you part of the time and with your ex part of the time. You’re not trying to remove them from your former spouse’s life by any means. But you also want to make sure that you are involved. How will the court look at this?
The court will consider what your children want
As a general rule, the court will listen to children give their perspectives or opinions on what should happen. Older children, such as teenagers, often have more developed opinions and it may be important to them to have some say in this process. They may want to make sure that they still live by their friends or their school, for instance.
But younger children are often not given a say at all, on the grounds that they may be manipulated by their parents or that they simply don’t know what would be in their own best interests. And even older children are not guaranteed that the court is going to rule in favor of what they propose. The court always looks at a lot of factors when considering the child’s best interest, and that child’s opinion may only be one of the factors.
After all, it is generally considered better for parents to both see their children. This is the perspective that the court is going to take unless there’s a compelling reason to rule otherwise. The simple fact that the child wants to live somewhere may not be enough. Every case is unique, and there are certainly valid reasons – like allegations of abuse – but these are not present in most divorce filings.
Protecting your parenting time
If you’re worried about losing time with your children for any reason, it’s very important to understand your rights. The legal system does err on the side of giving both parents some time with their kids, but you need to know what steps to take to make sure it happens.