When parents of minor children get divorced, custody issues can get very complicated very fast — especially when one or more of the kids seems to have a strong opinion about where they want to live.
If you’ve hit an unexpected snag in your divorce because your child has different ideas about which parent should have primary physical custody of them, it may help to understand what the law says about the situation.
There’s no specific age in Arizona at which children can chose their primary caregiver
The courts in every state operate under the idea that custody and parenting time decisions should revolve around the “best interests of the child.” However, every state defines the way that judges are supposed to reach their decisions a little differently.
In Arizona, a child’s preferences about a parent’s legal decision-making ability and parenting time will be factored into the court’s decision only when “the child is of suitable age and maturity.”
While that sounds a bit vague, the law essentially allows a judge to treat each case as a unique situation. An immature 16-year-old’s preferences, for example, can count for less than the well-considered and articulated preferences of a mature 13-year-old.
Parents can still retain control over their custody situation
It’s important to note that parents don’t necessarily have to leave the parenting and custody decisions up to the court at all. If both parents are in agreement about what’s in their child’s best interests, the court is unlikely to interfere with their parenting plans.
If you and your spouse are at odds over custody issues, it’s wise to seek some experienced assistance. An attorney can help you better understand the nuances of your situation and what is likely to happen in your case.