It is not an easy task for the court to make decisions in custody cases. This is why you are highly encouraged to come to an agreement without the court having to intervene. However, that is not always possible. In such cases, the court will take into consideration many things, which in Ohio, also may include your children’s wishes.
According to the Ohio State Bar Association, the law does not specify how old a child must be to have input on custody matters. It is left up to the court to decide during each case. The court will generally consider the child’s ability to reason and share his or her feelings. While other evidence is always considered and the ultimate decision is always based on what is in the best interest of the child, getting to know the child’s wishes can greatly help the court in making a final decision.
When the court decides to hear from your child, there will be a private meeting. It is held outside of the courtroom, often in the judge’s chambers. You and your child’s other parent will not be allowed in the room when your child speaks with the judge. The judge will ask questions and talk with your child to get a better idea of what he or she wants and why he or she feels that way.
A judge may speak to a child of any age, but older children’s wishes are given more weight when making the final judgement. This information is for education and is not legal advice.