When going through a divorce, child custody is awarded to a parent based on many factors. Overall, making sure that the best interests of the children are met is always a guaranteed interest of the court. Making sure that any children involved in a custody case are able to grow up in a happy and safe environment is the goal of the court.
According to Tipp News: “there are certain times in which the child themselves can help sway a judge’s decision. In child custody cases, a child’s preference can be taken into consideration, but not always.”
The age of the child is a huge factor in a child custody case. The preference of the child is seen as having more weight and importance when he or she is older. A child at a much younger age is seen as not having the same mental development and maturity to make the best choice. This would be a four year old, for example.
At age 13, the judge will weigh the decision heavier since the child is more developed to be able to make an informed decision. Louisiana has no specific age requirement for considering a child’s preference.
So how is a child’s preference declared? It’s not heard in a courtroom. What’s done instead is that an official appointed by the judge will talk to the child one-on-one outside of the court. This appointed official could be a social worker, a therapist, or a Guardian ad Litem.
Child preference could be somebody other than one of the child’s parents. The other party could be an uncle or a grandparent, for example.
Have a concern regarding your divorce or child custody? We’re here to help! Attorney Taylor Fontenot and the Southern Oaks Law Firm team are dedicated to helping your case and giving you the best possible outcome. Call 337-704-7255 or email Taylor today!