Contested Child Custody
How Do I Get Custody? That is the question I get asked, over and over again.
What Are The Factors? There are a number of factors the courts use. The statute listing them is 26.09.187. There are seven different factors, with the first one (The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent) being the most important one.
That frequently boils down to which parent did the majority of the work. If one parent was a stay-at-home parent, and they aren’t into drugs or alcohol, that parent is going to be the primary custodial parent.
How Old Do Kids Have To Be To Get A Choice? Children, technically, get a choice only when they turn 18 years old. However – the older the kids are, the more likely it is that the court will listen to what they want. At about age 11 or 12, they start to get a voice. The courts will pay a lot of attention when the children turn 14 or 15. And I have yet to see a court do something different than what a 17 year old wants. (It’s possible; but unlikely.)
How Do The Kids Get A Vote? You will never get the kids to testify in court. Judges and commissioners strongly dislike that and it will go against you. Children testify through evaluators: the parenting evaluator talks to the kids, and then they tell the court what the child wants. BUT that means you have to get a parenting evaluator on board, as soon as possible.
Parenting and Custody Case Law:
The “best interests of the child” control when determining a parenting plan.
The legislative intent of restricting a court’s authority to order that a child shall alternate his or her residence between households for brief and substantially equal intervals of time is based on the “frequency of transition” issue, not the “substantially equal time” issue. (For admissibility of legislative history, see Statutory Construction, below.)