Can a child pick which parent they want to spend more time with?

Posted by Lauren S. CohenJan 13, 20220 Comments

In New York State, the child's custody preference does not directly affect a judge's decision. However, it is one factor that a judge considers when making the ultimate ruling.

If you worry about parenting time, there are a few things you should know about custody laws in New York. Please continue reading to learn more about determining which parent receives the majority custody of their children after divorce.

How do judges decide?

New York judges have a lot of power to decide parenting time. They attempt to accurately analyze the situation and make a ruling based on the child's best interest, according to Section 240. A judge does consider the child's wishes, but the judge will go against the child if they believe the child will experience a better living situation with the other parent.

Does age matter?

Judges give more credence to an older child's wishes. If a 16-year-old wants to live with their father, they have more say in the matter than a 6-year-old. The judge may agree with the child's wishes, but that does not mean they decided solely on that factor. Judges must weigh the mental state of both parents and the child, the child's needs and the maturity of the parents and children before making a final decision.

Ultimately, a judge considers the whole picture before ordering custody arrangements. If you have young children, their opinion carries very little influence on the outcome. That does not mean a judge will not listen to their wishes and consider them. Remember, the final goal is to give a child the best possible living situation.