Can A Child’s Preference Sway a Custody Decision?

young african american teenager smiling at camera in front of a brick wall

Some children have a parent that they gravitate toward. This may be because of shared interests, similar personalities, or other reasons for a close relationship. When parents split up, some children may verbalize a desire to spend a majority of their time with one parent. Will the child’s preference be a factor in the final custody outcome?

Child’s Preference Impacting Divorce Decisions: Mediation

During mediation, parents have the ability to sit down and negotiate a personalized setup that will work best for their family. Many people try mediation in an attempt to keep the court as uninvolved as possible. Mediation gives parents more power in making decisions. If the parents are aware of their child’s wishes, they may choose to arrange a custody agreement accordingly. This is up to the parents, what they agree upon, and what they perceive to be in their child’s best interests.

Child’s Preference Impacting Divorce Decisions: Litigation

Some spouses are not a good fit for mediation and their divorce arrangements must be handled in court. This means that a judge will have the final say for all divorce outcomes, including child custody.

In Georgia, children 14 and older can make a formal declaration of their custody preferences. They can dictate their preference using an Affidavit of Custody Election and submit it to the court. Prior to 2008, the child had full control. Whatever they stated as their preference was always granted. However, that is not the case anymore. Now, the judge has some discretion and can veto the child’s preference if it would not be in their best interest.

Family Law Attorneys in Cumming

Child custody is often one of the most complicated factors in a divorce. It’s important to work through these matters with an experienced family law attorney by your side. Our team at Miles Hansford, LLC can advocate for you and your child to ensure a positive outcome. Reach out to our team today to learn more about our practice and discuss your case.