Maryland parents know that children sometimes don’t want to follow through on plans. However, visitation is often a court mandated process that children can’t back out of.
When it comes time to decide on visitation and custody, the rights of the child should be taken into account. The eternal question is how old they should be to make these decisions.
At what age do children’s opinions get taken into consideration?
Generally, the court is willing to hear what children want when deciding custody or visitation rights if the child is at least 10-12 years old. However, the children’s opinions are not determining factors when establishing visitation or custody.
From the age of 16, children generally get to make their own decisions about where they’re going to spend their time. This can be regardless of what the court decided previously.
What goes into visitation and custody agreements?
How the child feels is definitely taken into consideration, but there are other factors that contribute to custody agreements and visitation. Work schedules as well as living situations are some of the first things that the court will look at to determine custody arrangements.
For example, if a child wants to stay with Parent A but this parent doesn’t have enough time off work to be with the child, the court will generally decide to give primary custody to Parent B. This is generally because Parent B will have more ability to better parent the child than the parent who is working.
What happens if a child doesn’t want to go?
Generally, the child has to follow with visitation orders if they’re under the age of 16. If they don’t visit their parent at the scheduled time, then the parent can face contempt charges or otherwise get in trouble. It’s important to discuss the importance of visitation to your child and work with the court and your co-parent to find a solution.