When does your child get to choose their custody scenario?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2022 | Family Law |

Your child is not a weapon, and they should never be used against you. No parent should be able to manipulate a child to get them to “choose” a parent and tell a judge that they are rejecting the other.

That’s why it’s so important for you and the other parent to discuss child custody and your parenting plan without involving your child or letting them get caught up in the middle. Still, as your child gets older, they will have preferences, and you do need to consider what they want while keeping an eye on why they might be asking for what they are.

Nebraska protects parents and children with basic rules about custody

Unlike in some states, Nebraska doesn’t set a specific age at which your child can decide where they want to live or who they want to live with. Instead, the court has to think about the child’s preferences but also do what is in their best interests at all ages.

As your child gets older, their opinion and preferences will start to carry more weight. For example, a six-year-old child who is attached to their mother doesn’t necessarily understand the implications of “choosing” their mom, but a 17-year-old child does have better insight into what their decisions really mean for them.

The child’s best interests in their cases are set by law as defined in the Parenting Act. On the whole, the goal is to put the child in a scenario where they will see both parents regularly (when possible) and live in a comfortable, supportive environment. They should have all their basic needs met and be able to get away from disputes, arguments and conflicts.

Parents are required to have a parenting plan in place

Another thing to keep in mind is that parents do need to have a parenting plan in place. If you and your spouse cannot come up with an agreement that you’ll follow during and following your divorce, then you will need to go through alternative dispute resolution or take your case to court and allow a judge to decide.