How Much Influence Can a Child Have on Custody or Visitation Orders?
During a divorce case that involves children, you may be wondering how much influence your child might have over custody and visitation decisions. It is true that family courts will consider the child’s preferences for which parent the child wants to live with. However, there are several other factors considered by family courts that help make the final determination. A few of these include parent factors, the safety of the child, and the best interests of the child standard. To learn more about this, feel free to contact an Oklahoma Family Lawyer today.
When a Child May Influence Court Orders
Children may influence court orders regarding child custody and visitation at almost any age after which the child can verbalize or convey their preference. However, courts recognize that children have a greater influence once they reach the age of 12. At age 12, children are deemed able to make an intelligent preference.
An intelligent preference has a greater effect than a preference made by a child before the age of 12. This preference can be used to weigh in on court decisions for which parent should have child custody, visitation rights, or limits placed on either of these. While the child does not have full control over the final determination, family courts do take the child’s preferences into account when looking at other factors.
The child’s preferences can be made with or without the parents present. If the court decides not to go with the child’s preferences, then the court must present facts that support this decision.
How Courts Determine Custody and Visitation
Knowing what other factors influence a court’s decision of child custody and visitation orders can help you figure out what possible outcomes could result based on your circumstances. Other factors that influence custody and visitation include parent preferences, historical factors of each parent, health of each parent, and illegal activities committed by either parent.
Historical factors of each parent include:
- Which parent has been more involved with schooling, medical appointments, and other essential activities in the child’s life
- A history of making sound decisions that have benefited the child
- Ability to provide resources and a stable home environment
The physical and mental health of each parent will be taken into account. A parent with a terminal illness with only a few more months to live may influence the final decision. Mental illness that prevents the parent from caring for the child or protecting the child from harm may prevent a parent from custody.
Illegal activities like child abuse, drug abuse, or maltreatment can significantly influence child custody and visitation orders. The main standard of family courts is to protect the welfare of the child.
Family Attorney in Oklahoma
Trying to obtain the child custody or visitation orders you want can be difficult to do on your own, especially if your spouse has hired a lawyer. Consider talking with an Oklahoma Divorce Lawyer if you are facing obstacles to the court orders you prefer. All you have to do is contact the Putnam Law Office at (405)-849-9149 today for a consultation. Mr. Putnam is an Oklahoma City, OK attorney who is dedicated to his clients.