Entertainment Love and Romance Considering the Child's Wishes When Determining Child Custody Information About the Court's Consideration of a Child's Wishes Share PINTEREST Email Print Leonora Saunders/Cultura/Getty Images Love and Romance Divorce Relationships Sexuality Teens LGBTQ Friendship By Debrina Washington Family Law Attorney, Writer University of Pittsburgh School of Law Skidmore College Debrina Washington is a New York-based family law attorney and writer, who runs her own virtual practice to assist single parents with legal issues. our editorial process Debrina Washington Updated May 23, 2019 Question: How much weight does the child's wishes have on whether or not the court grants custody to a parent? The short answer is it depends. Some courts will consider the child's wishes to be a determinative factor for a child custody determination. However, for the most part, a child's preference is not considered as a significant factor. Here is more information about a court's decision on whether to consider a child's wishes during a child custody case: Factors Considered Regarding the Child's Wishes and Child Custody During a child custody hearing, a court may decide to hear the testimony of a child to assist in the court's ruling of a child custody hearing. In considering the child's wishes, using the best interests of the child standard, a court will consider the following factors: Child's ageChild's maturityChild's ability to make an informed, reasonable decision In deciding how much weight to put on a child's wishes, a court will consider the following factors prior to making a child custody decision: Domestic Violence When a parent has been accused or convicted of domestic violence, a child may not wish to reside with the parent, especially if the child witnessed or was the victim of the domestic violence. In instances of domestic violence, a court will most likely consider the child's wishes as a significant factor in determining whether or not a parent should get custody of a child. Lack of a Relationship Courts may hear the child's testimony through a guardian ad litem about the child's relationship with the parents. Although, courts will consider lack of a relationship as evidence of a child's desire to reside with one parent over the other, most courts will allow a parent an opportunity to heal the relationship with the child in spite of past issues. Siblings in Primary Parent's Home A court may hear a child's testimony about preference to reside with one parent if a child doesn't want to spend time away from his/her siblings. A court may determine that it is in the child's best interests to be with his/her siblings. Despite the information mentioned above, a child's preference rarely has significant weight, as most courts allow a parent the opportunity to form a significant relationship with a child, in spite of the past. For more information about the best interests of a child, refer to child custody guidelines about your state or speak to a qualified attorney in your state.