Carton & Rosoff PC-Attorney at Law

Resolving disputes creatively

Do children have input in child custody determinations?

Parents in New York have to make many decisions for their children as they raise them. Early in children's lives parents make almost every decision for them and, slowly, as they grow older and mature, the children can make more of their own decisions. However, until the children are 18 years old generally the parents still have the final say on most major decisions. This is true whether parents are married or divorced, but if the parents are divorced which parent will have custody and decision-making authority for the children needs to be determined.

Child custody decisions are very complicated decisions that involve analyzing many different aspects of both the parents and the children's lives. The courts will need to determine which parent was the primary caretaker of the children. They will also analyze the children's needs and which parent can best provide for those needs. Each parent's mental and physical health will be analyzed to determine if they are fit to provide for the children. Courts will also look at whether there has been domestic abuse between the parents or involving the children and other factors.

One of the other factors could be the wishes of the children. However, this factor depends on the age and maturity level of the child. The older and more mature the child is the more weight that their wishes will have on the determination. The court will also determine whether one parent is putting undue pressure on the child to try influence their wishes before determining how much weight to give their wishes. However, the final determination is still to be determined by a judge regardless of the wishes of the child.

As children in New York grow older they mature and understand better what is in their best interests. However, children mature at different rates and being the same age does not mean that they will be at the same maturity level. Therefore, in child custody determinations the courts do not automatically listen to the wishes of the children when they reach a certain age and focus on maturity. These are complicated matters and consulting with an experienced attorney could be useful.

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Carton & Rosoff PC
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