Children’s Preferences in Child Custody and Timesharing Cases

Many parents imagine that their child’s preferences in custody and timesharing, as allegedly expressed to them, will control the outcome of their child custody and timesharing case in family court.

They are usually disappointed to learn that that is probably not a significant consideration in their case at all.

On a practical level, it is all too common for children to express to each parent that they prefer to be with that parent primarily.

Which highlights the uncertainty as to the children’s true preferences. How can they reliably be determined?

In Florida and many other jurisdictions, divorce court judges rarely hear from children directly regarding their preferences. Subjecting children to testifying in court “against” either parent is frowned upon as damaging to children.

There are other ways to put children’s stated preferences before the court but, for a variety of reasons, the court often is not receptive toward receiving that input as evidence in the case.

And even if the court were, do children know what is best for them?

At best, not necessarily. At worst, definitely not.

And those are some of the problems with the proposal of three Connecticut children lobbying for family court judges to speak directly with children in the privacy of the judge’s chambers.

It also tends to put the children right smack into the middle of the case. And that is not healthy for children.

Read more in this Danbury [CT] News Times article: Siblings aim to change child custody law.