When it comes to child custody, everyone has an opinion about what should happen, including your children. The problem is the law does not provide them a huge voice when it comes to these matters.
Maryville University explains child custody laws do not provide age guidelines for judges when making decisions. The focus of the law is on what is in the best interests of the children. However, judges do often consider age, but they will do so on a case-by-case basis depending on the age of your children.
Ages 0 to 7
If you have a baby or toddler, the judge will typically consider the relationship between you and the child when making custody decisions. There is usually one parent that provides the majority of care to children in this age group, and the court will not want to separate that parent and the child.
The main focus is ensuring the arrangement meets the child’s needs since children are so dependant at these ages. At the same time, it is an important time to create bonds, so the judge will likely want you and the other parent to each have adequate time with the child through frequent visitation.
Ages 8 and up
If you have older children, their needs are not so dependent on your care. The judge may also be more willing to hear what they want. Custody arrangements for this age group are often more flexible. The judge may consider schedules and be more willing to allow a varied arrangement.
The age of your children can impact the custody decisions a judge makes since he or she aims to do what is best for your child and those needs vary with age.