Robert W. Davis, Jr.,
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Can the child’s preference affect the court’s custody decision?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2023 | Child Custody |

Generally, courts consider certain factors as a guide when deciding child custody. However, since custody determination involves children, many wonder whether it is appropriate for courts to also consider what each child wants and whom they want to stay with.

One of the considerations

When determining child custody, Mississippi family courts generally consider 12 factors, called the Albright factors, including the child’s preference. However, this factor only holds weight if the child involved is at least 12 years old, which is typically the age when children are expected to have the maturity to express an intelligent preference.

Nevertheless, the child’s preference does not necessarily control the court’s decision, especially if other factors outweigh it. For instance, suppose a child may wish to live with their mother, but the latter does not have the financial or mental capacity to care for them. Given the circumstances, the court might not consider the child’s preference.

When the child’s preference is in their best interests

During custody determination, courts prioritize the child’s best interests and decide on an arrangement that will cater to them. If the child’s preference coincides with the court’s determination of what is best for their well-being, then you can say the child’s wishes affect, albeit indirectly, the court’s custody decision.

Understanding what is best for you and your child

No matter what you believe is best for your child, it is important to understand objectively what is best for them. Once you do, you will have a good grasp of how the court works when determining custody. Nevertheless, you still have the right to fight for your child’s rights when the situation necessitates.


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