If you have kids and you’re facing a divorce, there are going to be a number of important issues that need to be settled. For example, not only will you need to worry about the separation of assets and debts, but other issues, such as who will have residential custody of the children, a schedule of visitation for the noncustodial parent, and the amount of child support will also need to be determined. Through much of this, it can seem like you have very little control. Of course, any children caught in the middle will also likely feel like there’s no one looking after their interests. In fact, many people begin to wonder if kids have any rights when it comes to determining these important life issues that affect them so personally.
What rights do children have in custody cases?
Many parents, as well as their children, want to know what rights these kids have in a custody case. Of course, every situation is unique and the final determination will be made by the judge overseeing the case, but there are things you can do to help your kids have a voice in the outcome.
While the judge will certainly have the final say, chances are a child will be able to express their preference as to which parent they want to live with. However, even given the child’s preference, a judge will likely want to look deeper into why the child is making the choice that they have.
There is no magic age when a child will be given the right to determine which parent has physical custody, but as a child gets older, they will likely have more of an opportunity to at least give their input for consideration.
When you are going through a divorce, it’s important to pay close attention to how your children are handling the changes. It is a difficult time for everyone. Additionally, if your child or children have strong feelings about their custody arrangements, it’s important to bring this up with your attorney. Your attorney can make sure that the child at least has an opportunity to express their wishes, which can give the judge another factor to consider when determining child custody.
Physical Verses Sole Custody
In most cases, one parent will be given primary or physical custody of the child while the other parent will be awarded visitation rights. Typically, this will mean that both parents have a say in important issues regarding the child. In some cases, one parent may be awarded sole custody of the child, allowing them to make all decisions regarding the child without any input from the other parent. Of course, there can also be times when neither parent is awarded custody and the child is placed with a relative, but this is usually temporary and the result of extenuating circumstances.