In this blog, I devote regular space to common issues arising out of my practice as a family court attorney in Kentucky, including family courts based in Louisville and LaGrange.
Frequently, I am asked, “how old does my child have to be to decide where he wants to live?”
The common perception is there exists some magic age where a child can definitively decide whether to live with mom or dad in a custody or divorce case.
Let me to dispel this perception.
In Kentucky family court cases, including those in Louisville or Oldham County, parenting schedules are set by what is in the best interests of the child. The law sets forth a number of factors for family court judges to consider when trying making such a determination.
One of the factors for courts to consider is the “wishes of the child as to his custodian.” See, KRS 403.270(2)(b).
Nowhere in this statue does it states that a child of a certain age gets to choose his or her custodian. In fact, courts should consider the wishes of a six-year-child AND a 16-year-old child.
From a practical standpoint, however, family law judges in Louisville and Oldham County are probably going to give more weight to the wishes of a 16-year-old than the desires of a six-year-old. To put it another way, the age and maturity level of a child will probably factor heavily into how much consideration a family court judge gives to the “wishes of the child.”
Remember, parents are parents. Children are children. Parents ultimately are responsible for making parenting decisions regarding their children. Rarely would it be preferable for parents to hand the keys to their children and let them drive the bus on any fundamental parenting issue, including living arrangements.
For assistance with a Louisville or Oldham County custody case, call Jason Dattilo today. He is an experienced local family law attorney available to handle your custody, divorce, or any other type of family law dispute.
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