Judges look at several factors when determining child custody. His or her decision depends heavily on the best interest of the child, but sometimes the judge may ask a child for his or her preference. 

According to the Michigan Friend of the Court Bureau, the judge analyzes a child’s ability to state a preference based on two factors. 

A child’s age at the time of decision 

Younger children do not always understand the impact that custody has on their health and development. Age can be a fair determinant in the maturity of most children. Minors under the age of 18 cannot legally decide where they live. However, older minors may provide a judge with their preference. 

A child’s ability to reason 

Age is not the only determinant in a child’s ability to reason. Emotional maturity and consistency also matter. If your child is prone to unreasonable preferences, the judge can consider that. Unreasonable preferences include: 

  • Choosing a parent based on who the child last spent time with 
  • Choosing a parent based on more relaxed rules 
  • Choosing a parent based on the emotional reactions of the parent 

Some children cannot understand the impact of their choice. It is not their job to consider their health and well-being. If they do not have preferences that the judge considers in their best interests, the children’s preference does not count. 

Your custody arrangement could influence the relationship that you have with your children. As a result, child custody litigation is a crucial element in divorce cases. More information on child custody is available on our page.