Youngsters & Custody – Household and Matrimonial

United States:

Children & custody

August 11, 2021

Burns white

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Parents who begin the custody process often ask how the children can be included. Lawyers are often asked at what age a child can determine his place of residence. Lawyers also encounter issues where parents have difficulty getting a child to adhere to a custody plan. Maybe there are problems with the other parent and the child just won’t leave. It is important to understand the laws and procedures related to children and custody.

Almost everyone has heard the rumor that when a child is 14, 15 or 16 years old, they can finally tell the judge where they want to live. In reality, it doesn’t quite work that way. Pennsylvania law requires judges to consider 16 factors when making a custody decision. One of these 16 factors is the child’s preference. The older the child, the more weight the courts place on this factor, but there is no set age at which preference would be the determining factor. In fact, the court is much more concerned with why a child has a particular preference than how old they are. For example, if the court has a 17 year old who wants to live with dad because he lets the kid eat pizza and play video games all night; and a twelve-year-old who wants to live with dad because dad helps with homework, trains the soccer team and is a better listener, the court will give the twelve-year-old’s wishes more weight. Remember and never promise a child that if they tell the judge what they will, they will get their way.

Some parents also struggle with children who do not want to adhere to a custody system. Perhaps the parties went to court, the child spoke to the judge and it was ordered that they spend every other weekend with mom. Maybe the same child does not have a good relationship with mom and refuses to go to visit, what should dad do? Technically, a court order orders each party’s actions, and violating that order can result in disregard. In practice, the court usually examines the circumstances of the individual case. First, the age of a child is examined. When a toddler refuses to leave, the court usually expects the father to pick the child up, put them in the car, and bring the child to mom. When the circumstances affect a teenager who could outweigh the mother and father, the court looks for restrictions. A court will also examine what assurances Papa has given. If he actively encourages the child to go out with mom, talk about a fun activity mom may have planned, etc., it will go a long way. Conversely, if the father tells the child that it doesn’t really have to go, or suggests the child do what they want, this increases the likelihood that a court will despise the father.

It is important to understand a child’s rights and obligations throughout custody. Once you have properly educated your children about what to expect and what is expected of them, you will be better able to cope with this difficult time.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Expert advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.

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