Real Answers For Real People With Real Problems

  1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Child Custody
  4.  | Can my child choose where to live?

Can my child choose where to live?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Child Custody |

Defining physical custody terms is a standard part of divorce cases involving children.

While your child cannot definitively determine where they will live, their opinion can play a role in the court’s decision.

When the court considers a child’s preference

While there is no specific age determining when a Delaware judge will consider a child’s physical custody preference, they will factor in the opinion of an older, more mature child. For example, a teenager’s opinion holds more weight than a child under the age of 12.

However, the judge does not have to follow the child’s choice when making a custody agreement. Instead, they weigh that preference with other factors that impact the child’s best interests.

Considering the child’s best interests

When parents go through the court system to seek a custody arrangement, the judge follows a basic format but still makes determinations on a case-by-case basis. Their priority is to make decisions based on what is best for the child. Some factors they consider include:

  • The child’s physical and emotional health
  • The relationships between the child and each parent
  • Each parent’s health and history regarding caregiving for the child
  • Each parent’s criminal history and the records of anyone living in their household
  • A contact schedule, if available

The goal is to create a custody plan that causes little disruption to stability in the child’s life and nurtures the relationships they have with parents, siblings and other family members.

When parents enter custody proceedings with the goal of serving the child’s best interests, it often improves the process.