Can a child decide whom to remain within a divorce? - Reppucci Roeder
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September 19, 2021

Can a child decide whom to remain within a divorce?

Child Custody

child divorce

Can a child decide whom to remain within a divorce?

Divorce is never an easy decision.  And when a divorce involves children, that process becomes even more complicated. Why? Because the decisions that are made during that process affect not only the divorcing parties, but their children as well. Finding a lawyer, moving houses, dividing all of the assets and debts accumulated during the marriage, and accepting that your relationship has come to an end is a sorrowful pill to swallow for anyone. This process can be emotionally difficult for a child who is losing their notion of a family, especially when they feel like their voice is not being heard.

Children do not testify in family law matters.

It is our state’s public policy to keep children shielded from the disputes of parents in court for obvious reasons. Therefore, judges do not allow children to testify in family law matters. Courts are not necessarily keen on interviewing young children, they will allow a child of “sufficient age and maturity” to meet with a neutral third party outside of court to ascertain the child’s wishes. While there is no specific age that would count as sufficient age for purposes of a child interview, a good rule of thumb would be around twelve years old. In referencing maturity, a child could potentially be younger than twelve years old, but still be of a maturity level that would allow for an interview. That really is going to be contingent on the child him or herself. 

Requesting a child interview.

Requesting a child interview during a divorce can be done in open court or through a motion filed with  the court.  Generally, most judges will want the requesting party to draft a “Motion for Rule 12 Interview of the Minor Child(ren) and file it with the court. This Motion will outline the reasons/necessity for the interview.  This will allow the opposing party to respond to the request before the judge renders a decision.  If approved, the judge will issue an order setting a date and time for the child interview with Conciliation Services.  Once the interview takes place, the person who performs the interview will submit a report to the judge for review.  Based upon that report, the judge will give consideration to the child’s wishes.

Contact us today

At Reppucci & Roeder, we are here to make the divorce process less stressful. Call us today at (480) 418-6420 for your free consultation.

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