Child Custody: Your Child’s Age And Sex Could Count

Child Custody: Your Child’s Age And Sex Could Count

Among the more interesting elements a court considers in awarding child custody is the age and sex of the child. When kids are very small, this factor isn’t as important. After all, a baby’s main interest is in being fed and kept reasonably clean. However, an older child’s preferences are more likely to be based on experience.

A young child’s preference may be to live with the parent who bribed him last. If Dad just bought him a new bike or computer game, he may confuse his best interests with his momentary pleasure at receiving the gift. However, an older child may have genuine reasons for preferring one parent’s home over another. The court’s job in this case is to decide whether the preference is based on genuine concerns, or is a reflection of the child’s own agenda. For instance, if your fourteen year old girl wants to live with Dad, because she knows he’ll give her more access to her boyfriend, a judge won’t find her thoughts on the subject near as compelling as an observation like, “Dad helps me with my homework so that I can pull decent grades”.

other factors in the child’s emotional make up may bear on where he or she should live most of the time. If a boy is closer to Dad, and shares in his interests, he may be better off having the male guidance only a man can offer. A daughter may feel more secure having another female to help her navigate being a girl approaching womanhood. Conversely, if the child is closer to the opposite sex parent, he might have a better chance of achieving a well balanced adult life with that parent.

The child’s maturity level is also important to a judge exploring this factor. A 10 year old boy who has seen his parent’s lives and can make legitimate observations about their qualities and actions will be much more credible to a divorce judge than a 15 year old boy who is flunking out of school, and would rather spend his time playing computer games and hanging out with his friends.

In the end, the question of a child’s sex and age isn’t the only, or even the most important thing a judge deciding child custody has to consider. There are other aspects of a parent’s life that also indicate that the child would be better off in that parent’s custody. However, the older a child is, the more likely it is that his preferences, and his ability to better relate to a parent with whom he will make his primary home can influence his ultimate custody placement. Thus, in the case of a particular child, his age and sex could be very relevant to where he ends up making his home.

Source by Lucille P Uttermohlen
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