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Do Children Have the Right to Choose Custody?

Do Children have the right to choose custody?

There is no easy way to go through a custody battle. There’s a long list of reasons why you may not be able to come to a custody agreement with your ex-partner. One of the most common reasons for a stalemate in the process of creating a custody agreement is that one parent wants more time with the children than the other parent is willing to agree to. If you find yourself in a deadlock with your ex about your custody arrangement, you may be thinking about getting input from your child. Many parents believe that there is a certain age when children have the right to choose custody. In Nevada, there are some provisions for older children to provide input about custody but it is not as simple as many parents believe.

Ideally children will be shielded from the custody battle

Before you try and bring your pre-teen or teenager into your custody battle, take some time to think about how the process will impact your child. Ideally, your children will be shielded from the custody battle and not be asked to choose between parents. You may feel assured that your child would choose to spend more time in your home but actually choosing between parents can cause significant distress. Additionally, there are court rules against discussing your case with the minor child.

In some cases, older children are able to provide input about custody

It would be best for your child if you and your ex could find a way to come to a custody agreement without your child’s input. Unfortunately, it is necessary in some cases for older children to provide input about custody. In Nevada, there is not a specific age when children have the ability to choose custody or provide input about custody. Instead, the judge will consider the age of your child and determine if your child has sufficient maturity and intelligence to have input on the custody arrangement. The court can also order a child interview.

The judge can allow for some changes in the custody schedule due to ‘teenage discretion’

As mentioned above, in the state of Nevada, there is not a certain age when children suddenly have full discretion to choose which parent to live with. However, a judge can decide to give what is called ‘teenage discretion’ to older kids. Teenage discretion allows for older kids to have some say in changes to the custody schedule. Teenage discretion does not give the child complete control over the terms of the custody agreement. In these cases, the judge can allow the child to have a say in small changes and adjustments of the agreement.

The ultimate goal in any custody agreement is set up an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. This entire process can be complex because of the various laws. In addition, emotions often run high in these situations when each parent wants something different. You need to have a child custody attorney help you navigate your child custody battle – even if your child is old enough to have some say in the arrangement. If the judge determines that your child can have some ‘teenage discretion’ your attorney will also be able to help you with the ins and out of that process.  

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