When going through a divorce, you have likely spoken to your child about their future living arrangements, no matter their age. It’s possible that even very young children will have questions and communicate preferences about which parent they would like to live with in the future.
This is why many parents have questions about the age children can be when they can make their own decisions about their child custody plan. While children should be able to exercise their own free will, in many cases, adults need to make decisions to make sure that the child has a schedule that is in their best interests.
How Maryland courts value the opinions of the child
In Maryland, the child custody courts tend not to include the child’s wishes as part of their decision until they are at least 12 years old. The older a child becomes, the more their opinions and preferences hold value. At the age of 16, teens can take action to initiate a change of custody in court.
How can my younger child have their thoughts considered?
While a younger child may not be able to influence the decision simply by expressing their opinion, evidence that they give to psychologists and therapists, for example, could hold value. Professionals who are close to the child may be able to testify in court to address what they believe would be in the child’s best interests.
If you want to help your child gain the custody plan that they want, it is important to fully understand the law in Maryland.