Will my child's wishes be taken into consideration by the court?

Law Blog

In divorce cases, child custody is often a thorny issue between the two divorcing parties. In determining custody, family courts analyze various factors, among them the preference or inclination of the child. Therefore, your child's opinion will be taken into consideration in a custody case. However, this is not to mean that your child's wishes or inclination will be granted automatically. Read on for more insight.

Child Preference

In most states, the law states that when the child is of sufficient age, the court shall take into account the desires or wishes of the child in deciding which parent the kid is placed with. However, the law doesn't specify that the court shall adopt exactly what the child desires. In other words, there's a big difference between taking someone's desires into consideration and actually granting those desires. Here are some of the reasons why courts don't automatically grant children's desires about custody.

  • A child can choose to live with a particular parent because they have been promised inappropriate benefits such as a new bicycle or no curfew.
  • A child may choose to stay with a parent they feel or believe needs them. In effect, the child may be put in a parental role which is dangerous. Usually, it's the responsibility of the parents to take care of the child and not the other way round.
  • Kids may choose to stay with the parent they barely know since they have a fairy-tale expectation concerning how marvellous that parent will be. More often than not, that fantasy rarely turns into reality.
  • A child can also choose to live with the wealthy parent. If the judge sanctioned such a decision, the issue of materialism would manifest itself even worse than what the current situation is. The law encourages the idea of investing in children, not placing children where finances are.
  • The kid's wishes can also be swayed by one of the parents through threats to guarantee proper response. When these undue influences are discovered, the child's preference may not be used.

Given that the final decision should be what's best for the child, family courts will look at the history of the child's life, friends, school as well as the relationship with each parent. Additionally, the financial and emotional stability of both parents is also examined in determining child custody. Your family attorney can present your child's wishes to the court, for example, not wanting to relocate because of school and friends so that the court can grant custody in your favour. Always contact a family lawyer like those found at Marino Law when facing a child custody case.


29 June 2016

Learning about the law

I love watching legal dramas from all different countries. I often call up my friend who is a lawyer to ask her about whether the cases I have seen on the latest drama are realistic or if they wouldn't happen that way in Australia. It's so interesting to me to see the changes that they make to make the stories flow more convincingly as well as the differences between the law in Australian compared to other countries. This blog is for other fans of legal dramas like me and has some tips on the best places to get real legal advice (hint, it's not on the TV!).