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Do children have a say in custody matters?

It is very normal for a child to have a desire to live with one parent over the other during a divorce situation. If you are concerned that your child's wishes will not be concerned, then it may help to know that according to the Minnesota Statutes, your child may be able to influence the court's decision.

According to the Minnesota Statutes, the court may give some weight to what your child wants if the court believes he or she is capable of making a visitation decision on his or her own and that he or she is doing so independent of any coercion or involvement of you or the other parent. The court will consider your child's age and mental capacity when deciding if he or she is able to make such a request freely.

In general, though, the court will always make the decision it feels is the best for your child. This may or may not be what the child wants. The court looks at how you and the child's other parent have interacted and cared for the child. For example, it will consider who usually cares for the child daily and if you both have been involved in the child's hobbies or extracurricular activities. The court also considers safety and the environment in which your child will live with each of you.

The main goal when it comes to custody is to ensure the child is healthy, happy and safe. The court will place the child with the parent who can offer the best overall care. If that aligns with what the child wants, then the child's opinion will often carry more weight. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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