Understanding Child Custody
Can a child choose what parent to live with in the state of Oklahoma? I’m Oklahoma Attorney James Wirth and that’s the question that we have. Can a child choose which parent to live with? And the answer is no. However, there is a little bit more to it than that.
Ultimately, if we’re talking about choosing, it is not up to the child. It is up to the parents to decide together or if the matter is before a judge to determine the best interest of the child, it is up to a judge. However, there is a statute that regards child preference and what it says is that, it says procedurally the court is to make an inquiry of whether the best interest of the child will be served by the child’s statement of preference. And that’s based on whether the child is of sufficient age to express a preference.
There is a presumption that a child 12 and older is intelligent enough to make that preference. However, that can be rebutted. Some kids develop more quickly than other ones do. A child under 12 may be able to make intelligent preference. One above 12 may not be able to, but it’s a general rule, there’s a presumption at 12 that they are able to make an intelligent preference. In that circumstance, the court is required by law to hear and to take in consideration that child’s preference. However, the court can balance that out with other things and does not have to take that as an election of the child, only as a statement of preference.
Consideration of Child’s Preference in Court
Yeah, so should the child be of sufficient age to form an intelligent preference, the court shall consider the child’s testimony, including the expression of preference. The court is not bound to follow the child’s choice and may consider other facts in making its determination. So, if the question is, can a child choose what parent to live with, the answer is no. However, in some circumstances, the child is allowed by law to state a preference that the court is required to take into consideration.
Consult with an Attorney for Specific Advice
If you’re dealing with a family matter in the state of Oklahoma, you’re probably gonna want specific advice related to your circumstances. The only way to get that is by consulting with an attorney privately and confidentially. To get that scheduled with someone at my office, you can go online to MakeLawEasy.com.
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