In the state of West Virginia, a judge must ensure that a child custody ruling preserves the best interests of the minor involved in a given case. In some cases, the preferences of the minor may be taken into account depending on that child’s age and maturity level.
How old is the child?
West Virginia law allows judges to take the preferences of minors at or over the age of 14 into account when crafting child custody rulings. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a child will get what he or she wants. A judge will still need to ensure that allowing a minor to live with a certain parent will not put his or her safety in jeopardy. It’s worth noting that a minor’s words may be disregarded if there is evidence that he or she was coerced into expressing a preference for one parent over the other.
Why would a child’s opinions be taken into consideration?
There are many valid reasons why a minor might want to live with one parent over the other. For example, a child’s mother may live closer to that child’s friends or extended family members. It may be possible that the child’s father lives closer to the school that the minor attends, which may make it easier to get to practice or to other extracurricular activities.
A variety of factors are generally taken into account when deciding who should have custody of a child. Therefore, even if your son or daughter doesn’t want to live with you, it’s possible that you’ll still have physical custody. Even if you aren’t immediately given custody rights, there is a chance that an order may be amended to include them at some point in the future.