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When it comes to child custody, do the child's wishes matter?

Divorce when a couple has children can be particularly challenging to negotiate. There is a need to make sure the children's best interests are considered, but what if children have their own ideas about what they think is best for them? In Alabama, does a child's wishes regarding child custody matter to the court?

Every state has different guidelines on whether the child's wishes should be taken into consideration when determining a custody arrangement. In Alabama, yes, the court may consider what the child wants -- the key word here being may. There are no guarantees that a judge will listen to what a child wants and there are certainly no guarantees that what a child wants will be honored.

What will it take for a judge to really consider a child's wishes? The court will consider a number of factors when determining if a child should have a say in with whom he or she will live. A few of these factors are the child's age, his or her maturity level and the ability to understand the consequences of his or her decision. Of course, the court will also look at the child's relationship with both parents and if there is a history of abuse in the home.

At the end of the day, the goal of any child custody arrangement is to place the child in the best position for his or her growth and well-being. There are times when it is appropriate for children to have a say in what is best for them. Alabama residents who are working through the divorce process or who are in need of custody modifications can turn to legal counsel for help giving their children a voice regarding custody matters.

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Law Office of Sebrina L. Martin, PLLC | 6728 Taylor Court |Montgomery, AL 36117 | Phone: 334-513-7898 | Map & Directions