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Can a Child Decide Which Parent They Want to Live With in Idaho?

— November 11, 2022

Whether the court actually listens to the child is another matter altogether.

There are a number of factors that might impact a judge’s decision in an Idaho custody battle. These include logistical factors, the child’s best interests, their ties to a local neighborhood, and much more. But what about the preference of the child? This is often one of the most overlooked factors, and some might consider it to be the most important. After all, shouldn’t a child decide who they want to spend the majority of their time with? But when does a child actually have a right to express an opinion in Idaho, and will the judge even listen?

These are all important questions, and they’re probably best left answered by a legal professional. If you’re approaching a custody battle in Idaho, you should get in touch with a qualified, experienced custody lawyer as soon as possible. These legal professionals can help you determine the best overall strategy, and they can help you spend more time with your children after your marriage has ended. 

When is a Child Old Enough to Express a Preference in Idaho?

Many states have a set law stating that a child’s preference will only be considered in a custody case if they are of a certain age. However, Idaho does not have a set law governing this situation. In other words, a child can express a preference at any age when it comes to who they’d rather live with. 

Of course, whether the court actually listens to the child is another matter altogether. Ultimately, the judge has full discretion over whether or not to factor this preference into their final custody decision. 

With all that being said, there are some factors that make it more likely for a judge to consider a child’s preference in a custody case. First of all, an older child will generally be taken more seriously. However, age isn’t always a good indicator of overall maturity. In some cases, an 11-year-old child will speak and behave with more maturity than a 17-year-old teen. If you want to know whether your child will be taken seriously by the court, consider their ability to clearly communicate their ideas in a relatively eloquent manner. 

There Are Many Other Factors Involved

Man in white shirt carrying children; image by Nathan Dumlao, via
Man in white shirt carrying children; image by Nathan Dumlao, via

If you believe your child will express an opinion to live with your spouse instead of you, don’t despair just yet. There are many other factors that a judge may consider when making a final decision. For example, a child may love their parent dearly, but there is no way a judge is going to allow them to live with a parent who routinely endangers the life of the child. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you’ve been searching the Boise area for a qualified, experienced custody attorney, there are many viable options available. Perhaps your child has expressed a desire to live with you in the past. Perhaps your child would rather live with your former spouse. Whatever the case may be, a custody attorney can help you approach this matter in an efficient, confident manner. With their help, you can strive for a positive legal outcome in your custody battle. 

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