During divorce proceedings involving minor children, Kentucky courts assign two forms of custody, physical (also known as residential) custody and legal custody. The former deals with where the children live and for what intervals while the latter refers to the ability to make major decisions such as allowing them to receive medical treatment.
While individuals accept that judges determine both except in cases where the parents choose not to file for custody, they still carry misconceptions. One of these is that their offspring have the right to choose who they live with once they reach a certain age.
There is no specific at which underage children may choose the custodial parent
Judges may consider the children’s preferences if they feel they are mature enough to participate in the proceedings. However, this is only one factor taken into account among many. The overall driving force behind custody determination is the “best interests” of the children, which is dependent on numerous variables, including but not limited to:
- The relationship between the children and their parents
- Both the parents’ and children’s mental and physical health
- Who acted as the primary caregiver in the past
The children’s desires, if taken into account, are not the final determiners.
Children generally do not have to talk about their preferences in court
If the courts deem the minors mature enough, they usually do not make them state their wishes in court in front of everyone. They do not want to make already mentally and emotionally difficult proceedings harder on the children. Instead, the judge may interview them in private chambers where the parents are not present. Lawyers may be there.
Children do not get the final say in custody cases at any age. However, judges may choose to consider their wishes.