This is the first post in a series of articles which will address the common question of “at what age can a child choose which parent to live with?” I am writing on this topic due to the fact that this is a question which causes a great amount of confusion amongst family law litigants. Contrary to common belief, there is no “magical” age at which a child can choose with whom they will live. Instead, the Court will give increasing weight to the wishes of the child as they age and become more mature. The Court’s sole concern, however, will always be with ensuring that the child’s best interests are being protected. If you are in a family law dispute then it is important that you discuss your situation with an attorney as soon as possible. Contact my office today to speak with a Little Rock child custody lawyer.
I will be addressing several topics over my coming articles. Issues which I will analyze include:
- How the child’s wishes impact Arkansas custody cases
- When the Court may, and may not, grant “teenage discretion”
- When the Court will overrule the wishes of a teenager
There are multiple reasons why it is important to understand these topics. First, the weight which a Court will give to the wishes of a child will depend on their age and maturity. The older the child, and the more it appears that their decisions have a basis in legitimate reasoning, then the more the Court will weigh them. Conversely, if the child is too young or is making choices based on irresponsible reasoning, then the Court is likely to disregard them. Second, while the Court will often defer to the choices of a teenager, there are limits upon the discretion such a youth may be granted. Finally, the Courts will typically take away a teenager’s right to choose their parent if it is shown that they are abusing the privilege.
If you or a family member are involved in a family law dispute then contact my office to speak with a Little Rock child custody lawyer. I understand that this is a stressful time in your life and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. We promptly respond to phone calls, quickly reply to emails, and we take steps to ensure that you know what to expect from the process as the case progresses. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the remainder of Arkansas.