There is not a specific age at which the Court automatically considers the opinion the child. As set forth in Title 23 Pa. C.S. §5328, the well-reasoned preference of a child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment, must be considered by the Judge. However, this is never the only deciding factor. It is up to the Court to decide the best interest of the child, and sometimes the child’s request might not be in his or her best interest.
The Court is always available to speak with a child; however, this should not be the goal of the parent as it is a very difficult and emotional experience for the child. It is ultimately up to the Judge to determine whether or not the opinion of the child is well reasoned. For example, if a child only wants to stay at one parent’s home because he or she allows the child to not have any boundaries, the Court would not consider that as in the child’s best interest. The child must be able to offer a well-reasoned opinion for his or her decision.
At Liebmann Family Law, we offer a free initial consultation because we think the relationship with your child is the most important issue you can address. Please give our office a call to schedule a time where we can meet and discuss the best way for you to proceed and to understand your rights.