Can children choose where they live?
Can children choose where they live? Whether you’re a parent or a child in a parenting matter, this is something that often causes real concern. It’s important to have an understanding of how the court will decide where a child lives and what factors they will take into consideration. Our Brisbane Family Lawyers explain what happens in the court process to determine this.
Children choose! This is not a mantra of the family courts. The Court must consider any views given by a child as to where he or she wishes to live. This does not mean though that children choose. The child’s view is taken into account as well as other considerations so that the Court may determine what is in the best interests of the child.
The Court must also consider others factors that the Court thinks relevant to determine what weight the Court should attach to any view given by a child. This will include the child’s maturity or level of understanding.
The Court would take into account any evidence of a child having been influenced in his or her view by a particular parent or other family members. The Court takes a dim view of any attempt by a parent to influence a child to say that he or she wants to live with one parent or primarily with one parent in preference to another.
Absent evidence of influence upon a child, the view then of a teenager as to where he or she wants to live would generally be expected to carry more weight than a similar view expressed by a four year old. However, this is still a long way from the idea that children choose. The view of even a mature older child may not be definitive of the matter. There are other considerations to also be taken into account which may also effect the outcome, for example, the views of each parent and the practical difficulty and expenses of a child spending time with a parent.
For more information on child custody including where children choose, click here. Or, give our experienced Brisbane Family Lawyers a call today to receive tailored legal advice. We offer free 15 minute consultations over the phone to help answer some of your initial questions you may have regarding family law.