Does a child’s age matter when determining custody?

When deciding how custody should be arranged between divorced parents, the court will consider many different factors. They will think about religious or social factors, for instance, along with the gender of the child and any physical or mental health concerns they have. These are just a few examples.

But what about the age? There are two ways in which the age of your child may impact how custody is arranged. It is certainly one of the factors that the court can consider when making a ruling.

What offers the most stability?

For one thing, the court is trying to find a stable and secure home life for the child. Age can play a role here, especially with very young children. It may not make sense for a toddler to have to move back and forth between two homes as often, so they may live with one parent most of the time and simply visit the other parent for a smaller percentage of the time. Remember, child custody does not have to be split up 100% equally. The court can use a non-equal division if it thinks that that would be best for the child.

Does the child have a preference?

Age can also play a role if the child wants to express their preference. Maybe they only want to live with one parent and not the other. The court will consider this – although they are not obligated to agree with the child’s request – when children are a bit older and seem to have a cognitive grasp of the situation. For instance, a teenager may be asked if they have a preference, but a toddler may not.

Age is just one factor to consider at this time. Be sure you know about all of the legal options you have as a parent.