Do Children Have a Say in Child Custody Arrangements?

There’s a misconception that many people have as they go through a divorce that once a child reaches a certain age, they will be able to choose which parent they live in. This, however, is simply not true. Although judges might consider the child’s wishes as part of their child custody determination, in the end the decision lies with the court and the court alone. 

There are a variety of reasons why judges would not let children choose which parent to live with. These include: 

  • Children might be influenced by their parents when deciding who they want to live with. A parent may attempt to bribe their children by buying them cars, being lax with curfews and using other strategies to attempt to gain their favor.
  • Children may feel obligated to live with the parent that they think needs them more. They might attempt to put themselves into a parental role.
  • Children might have unrealistic expectations about what life with one parent would be like, but these fantasies rarely resemble reality.
  • Children might simply decide to live with the parent that has more money, feeling that their choice of parent would allow them to live a more lavish lifestyle. 

In the end, courts understand that what the child wants out of a custody arrangement is not always what the child needs. So while they may allow the child to voice their opinions and even consider them as they determine the arrangement, in no way do children have the ability to determine custody arrangements for themselves, regardless of their age.


For more information on how custody arrangements are determined, speak with the skilled Minneapolis lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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