In some cases, yes. In New Jersey, all child custody and parenting time decisions must be made with the child's best interests in mind. If the court determines that your child is sufficiently mature, their preferences may be considered, along with a number of other factors, when child custody and visitation matters are decided.
Unfortunately, because sufficient maturity isn't clearly defined beyond a child's ability to reason on their own, it can be difficult to know whether your child will have the opportunity to be heard and if their preferences hold much sway.
Generally, New Jersey courts decline to give much, if any, weight to the preferences of children under the age of 12. Even if your child is a teenager, that doesn't necessarily guarantee that they'll have their preferences considered. Rather than relying solely on chronological age, the court assesses maturity and reasoning ability on a case-by-case basis.
Additionally, even if your child is deemed mature enough to have their wishes heard and considered by the court, that doesn't mean they'll make it into the final child custody and parenting time agreements. The court routinely rejects the preferences of mature, older children when it believes that alternate arrangements are ultimately what's best for their wellbeing.
Expert Legal Help With Your New Jersey Child Custody Case
If you're getting a divorce and your child expresses clear preferences about child custody and parenting time, you need a skilled attorney who can present a strong case to the court, showing why those desires are in your child's best interests.
At Carl Taylor Law, our accomplished divorce and family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients resolve child custody and related issues. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation to discuss the details of your case and how our firm can help.