After a divorce, sometimes parents relocate to different parts of the United States. This can put children in a difficult position, as they may not get to see one of their parents on a regular basis. Kids may want to go and visit their mom or dad who is living far away, but it is important to make smart choices about what is best for the child before allowing a child to set a visitation schedule.
The age at which a child can decide to visit a parent is going to vary based on many factors. An experienced Scottsdale divorce attorney at Singer Pistiner, P.C. can help families to understand child custody laws and can provide assistance to parents in coming up with a parenting agreement that is good for their kids and that makes sense for their families. To learn more and to get the legal help you need to protect your child’s interests, call today to schedule a consultation.
At What Age Can a Child Decide to Visit a Parent?
When a relationship ends, parents are going to need to make a choice on where a child should live and how parenting time should be shared. This can become especially complicated if one of the parents will be moving away to a different state or to another distant location. If parents can come to an agreement on how custody should be shared, this is ideal for the family and child. If kids have an opinion on how frequently they want to visit their other parent, their parents should both strongly consider taking their child’s wishes into consideration when creating their custody plan.
If parents cannot agree on what their custody arrangement should be, a judge is going to need to make the decision after parents litigate the issue of custody. Judges decide on how custody is shared by considering the best interests of the child. Children can be given the opportunity to speak to the judge and to have a say in custody matters, but they must be mature enough to do so. Usually, once a child is around 12, the child is old enough that the judge will give the child some autonomy to decide to visit a parent according to a particular schedule. A judge can consider the opinion of the child on custody and factor the child’s wishes in as one of many factors used to set a custody schedule.
When a custody agreement is in place, it must be followed by both parents. If a child decides he wants to visit the other parent more or less frequently than is specified in the custody arrangement, the parents will need to decide whether to allow that or not. If a child expresses a desire to visit the other parent more often, it is usually a good idea for both parents to respect the child’s wishes and try to make that happen. However, a child cannot unilaterally decide to visit a parent and act on his own until the child is 18 and old enough to make his or her own choices under the law.
To get help with issues related to child custody, speak with a Scottsdale divorce lawyer as early as possible in the process of your separation. Singer Pistiner, P.C. can help you to create a custody arrangement that is best for your child and that works for your family. Call today to learn more.