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Question: Does my child have any say in which parent gets custody?

| Feb 3, 2021 | Family Law |

Answer:

Yes, your child(ren)’s input, impressions and opinions, whether communicated to the Court during an in-camera interview or to their assigned attorney (the attorney for the child[ren]) will generally have an impact on a custody determination. However, it should be recognized that although the express wishes of a child are entitled to great weight, they are not dispositive.. Matter of Samuel S. v. Dayawathie R., 63 A.D.3d 746,747 [N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep’t 2009]; Matter of Manfredo v. Manfredo, 53 A.D.3d 498, 500 [N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep’t 2008]; O’Connor v. Dyer, 18 A.D.3d 757 [N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep’t 2005]; Matter of Clupper v. Clupper, 56 A.D.3d 1064 [N.Y. App. Div. 3d Dep’t 2008]). The Court’s primary focus is what is in the best interests of the child(ren), which encompasses many factors and considerations (see Eschbach v. Eschbach, 56 N.Y.2d 167, 174 [N.Y. 1982]). For example, if the children express a desire to live with one parent but that parent has actively alienated the child(ren) against the other parent, that factor will likely weigh heavily on the Court’s decision.