Does My Child’s Opinion Matter?
Children are rarely called to testify in a divorce case. However, the commissioner or judge is permitted to consider the preference of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to joint legal or physical custody. Some judges may interview the child to ascertain his/her preference. In cases where there are allegations of abuse or neglect, an attorney guardian ad litem may also be appointed to represent and speak on behalf of the child.
The weight the child’s opinion receives depends greatly on the child’s age and maturity. The child’s opinion is not usually given significant weight, unless the child is 16 years of age or older.