The More Mature the Child Is, the More Impactful Their Statement Is
Video Transcribed: So now that we know that the child’s preference can be considered, the next obvious question, and I can hear it in the wind, you guys all want to know. My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a father’s rights attorney in Tulsa with Dads.Law. So what is the effect?
I talked about this a little bit last time, and I want to dig in a little further. What effect does the child’s opinion have on child custody litigation in Tulsa? Well, it is a reason for a given’s motion as we talked about last time, that can be considered a material change in circumstance.
If a child voices an opinion that they want to live with the other parent, it could certainly be something that the court will consider. It will typically result in an inquiry into the reasons why and the judge when they interview that child, is going to dig into those reasons.
And the attorneys representing the parties will try to dig into those reasons during discovery and possibly using other tools, depending on what’s going on, such as the guardian ad litem or in an extreme case, a forensic interviewer to try to get at what is behind that child expressing that opinion.
And that’s really what is going to ultimately influence the amount of persuasiveness that child’s opinion might have. If for example, you’re dealing with let’s say a teenager and they just don’t get along well with one parent. That may be enough assuming that it’s not because the child wants to do whatever the hell they want in there and the parent won’t let them.
If you’re talking about just personality clashes, for example, that may be enough. If they don’t like the new stepparent, that could be enough, especially if there are really legitimate conflicts there. And it’s not just a, “Well, you won’t let me do what I want” kind of situation.
The effect of the child’s statement that they want to live with the other parent is going to carry more weight as the child ages because as the child becomes more mature, the presumption that their opinion is a well-considered, rational opinion will grow.
And also, as they get older, children most of the time get more articulate and are better able to explain to the court satisfaction. “Look, I want to go there for these reasons, and this is why I think it will benefit me and the child,” may very well persuade the judge.
So that’s the thing to consider. And the effect is it’ll often trigger an inquiry into the reasons the child has just voiced that opinion. So if you have questions about that or any other topic involving your rights as a father, go to dads.law where fathers are not disposable.