In child custody cases, I am frequently asked whether or not the child’s age is a factor with a judge.
I’ve seen cases where judges place great weight on a 13-year-old child’s desire to live primarily with one parent over another. This is especially true when the child is an above-average student and well adjusted and provides legitimate reasons to support the preference.
The closer the child is to the magic age of 16, the more likely the judge will support his or her wishes. Any child 14 or older must be asked their preference. Keep in mind if the judge wants to hear from a child, it is usually done in the judges’ chambers, without the parties present.
This question of primary residence brings about some of the greatest disaccord in custody cases today, and a judge’s ruling on a child’s preference becomes more important than ever.
The crux is that statutory rule does not exist in this area. Each case lives or dies on its own facts. Having the counsel of an attorney experienced in complex child custody cases makes the difference in questions of this nature. Call my office, or use the contact us form on this page, and let me know your concerns.
DISCLAIMER: The results of every case depend on factors unique to that case, and NZS Law does not guarantee or predict results in any given case.