When the marriage or relationship between you and your child’s other parent reaches its end, you may need to have the state step in and allocate residential and decision-making responsibilities for you. While the state reflects on many factors when deciding what type of arrangement to create for your child, you may wonder if it takes your child’s own wishes into account.
According to the North Dakota Legislature, the state may, depending on the specifics of your situation, take your child’s wishes about where to live and when into consideration. Some states allow kids to voice their custody preferences once they reach a certain age. However, North Dakota uses different criteria when deciding whether to hear a child’s wishes.
What determines if your child has a say
Rather than rely on a child’s age to determine his or her degree of maturity, North Dakota courts typically consider a number of factors to determine if your son or daughter is of “sufficient maturity” to make a sound judgment in this area. If the courts decide your child is, in fact, mature enough to voice a preference, that preference may carry substantial weight.
What other factors impact custody decisions
While a court may decide a child’s wishes are relevant in a residential responsibilities case, it also considers a wide range of other factors. How fit each parent is to care for the child and the state of each parent’s current relationship with the child are among the other factors that may undergo consideration.
When considering a child’s preferences and other relevant factors, the primary goal of the court system is to advocate for your child’s best interests.