divorced family concept

As you and your spouse are undergoing divorce proceedings, you likely want to avoid making your child “choose a side.” However, if they are old enough, they may just want to voice their opinion on some of the matters at hand, such as child custody. Follow along to find out whether your child can have a say in your custody agreement and how one of the proficient New York City child custody attorneys at Zimmet Law Group, P.C. can work with you and your child.

Is it possible for my child to have a say in the custody agreement?

Firstly, your child is not legally allowed to decide which parent they want to live with until they reach the age of 18. However, this is not to say that they cannot voice their preference for parental living arrangements with the judge. Usually, the judge will take their opinion more seriously if they are between the ages of eight to 17.

Though, just because a judge will consider your child’s opinion does not mean that they are obligated to follow it. Ultimately, a judge will base their decision on what they believe is in the best interest of the child. And sometimes, their best interest goes against their stated preference.

How will a judge decide on a child custody agreement?

Typically, a judge will decide to grant joint custody over a child. This is because New York law holds the belief that a child benefits most from maintaining a relationship with both parents. However, a judge will not grant joint custody if they determine one spouse to be parentally unfit. Indications of an unfit parent include the following:

  • One spouse has a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • One spouse has a history of domestic violence.
  • One spouse has a history of kidnapping.
  • One spouse has a history of incarceration.

With all that being said, a judge will usually look at the following factors to reach a custody agreement:

  • Each spouse’s ability to offer a stable home environment for the child.
  • Each spouse’s ability to financially support the child.
  • Each spouse’s ability to physically and emotionally care for the child.
  • Each spouse’s ability to act in the child’s best interest.
  • Each spouse’s current relationship with the child.
  • Each spouse’s willingness to have a relationship with the child.
  • Each spouse’s work schedule and lifestyle.
  • Each parent’s age and health.

If you are looking out for the best interest of your child during your divorce proceedings, then you must employ one of the talented Manhattan divorce attorneys. We will equally look out for your child and fight for an outcome that best serves them. Call us today.