Can Children Select Which Parent Gets Custody?
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Children Choosing Custodial Parent
Georgia law allows a child to make an election of which parent they would like to have primary custody, provided they reached the age of 14. This election is done by having the child sign an affidavit asserting their election in the dispute. The child’s election under the law is to be given considerable weight; however, in practice, the courts are still looking to fulfill the child’s best interest standard. There are cases wherein the court does not follow the election on the grounds that the election made is not in the best interest of the child.
Children that are at least 11 years old but have not yet reached the age of 14, shall be permitted to have the court consider their desires for child custody. This does not have the same legal effect of the election when a child has reached 14; however, courts will consider the desires of a child in this age range consistent with their best interests.
Elections are powerful but they are also asking the child to step into the middle of a dispute in which they often should not be involved. Courts prefer the parties not involve the children in divorce and custody issues. Your divorce attorney can guide you on deciding if an election is a good tactic in your situation.