How Important Is Child Preference When Creating a Parenting Plan?
How Child Preference Is Weighed
Children of divorce may have a preference about which parent they will live with for a majority of the time. However, the issue of child preference does not come up in many parenting cases. Some children are uncomfortable choosing sides or admitting that they have a preference. When they do express a preference, the court may give it little or no credence if:
- The child is not mature enough to explain why they are choosing one parent
- The preference is clearly not in the child’s best interest
- One of the parents appears to be manipulating the child’s opinion
Rather than have the child testify in front of a judge, the court may assign a licensed professional to talk with the child and discern their preference without parental interference.
Even when a court acknowledges child preference, it is just one of several factors that a court must consider, including:
- The parents’ wishes
- The child’s needs
- Each parent’s ability to independently care for the children
- The parents’ individual parenting roles during the marriage
- The parents’ willingness to cooperate with each other
- The cost and difficulty of transporting the children between residences
- The child’s existing school and community connections
- Whether one of the parents may be a danger to the children
Child preference has the greatest influence on a court’s decision when the other factors equally favor both parents. However, there are many cases in which the other factors point to one parent being in a better position to have a majority of the parenting time.
Contact a Batavia Divorce Attorney
When negotiating a divorce parenting plan, you must remember that your decisions should serve the best interest of your children. A Kane County divorce lawyer at Van Larson Law, P.C., understands that you need time with your children and an active role in making parenting decisions. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.