Do Judges Care What Children Want In Child Custody Cases?

May 7th, 2013 by John Schuman

Podcast #5 – Do Judges Care What Children Want In Child Custody Cases?

I have a court appointed psychologist report recommending 1/2 custody, I applied for a motion and the judge announced we must go to trial, but I have no money to. Can a child of 13 yrs apply to court for her chosen custody?

In Child Custody Cases, custody and access assessments are not binding on judges. That means judges do not have to follow them. The report is only one piece of evidence, and the psychologist is only witness at a trial. The judge has to consider everything. For all the factors that a judge has to consider read this webpage: How Do Judges Decide Which Parent Gets Custody of a Child?.

At 13 years old, what a child wants is a factor that the judge has to consider, and it may be very important to the judge. In addition to all the other resources, you may want to listen to this podcast: What say do children get.

Judges are becoming more and more interested in what children have to say in separation and divorce. If the child has a clear preference, that is the result of pressure (intentional or not) from one party, that can be very important to how the judge decides. Judges care what children wants in child custody cases.

If you have a report in your favour and your child’s views are in your favour, then you should make a formal offer to settle on the same terms as the report. If the judge agrees with the report after the trial, the judge can order your spouse to pay almost all of your legal fees from the day you made the offer until the day the judge made the order. If that order comes after a trial, then your spouse could owe you a lot of money. There may be some other strategies to get what you want while avoiding a trial, but those would depend on some very particular facts in your case. So, you should speak to a child custody lawyer about your situation.

You should also get a copy of this easy-to-understand $20 book on Ontario Family Law: Devry Basics Ontario Family Edition. It explains the court process, and gives several tips for how to succeed in court, and goes over the basics of Ontario Family Law so you have some idea of what your rights are. It goes over everything in this post in more detail. It may even be on sale on Amazon right now.

For further information or assistance in regards to family law, including questions and answers about topics like “Do Judges Care What Children Wants In Child Custody Cases?”, please contact one of our Family Lawyers in Toronto.

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