You may need to download version 2.0 now from the Chrome Web Store. These in-chambers interviews are usually reserved for older children who are comfortable expressing a preference. There’s no specific age when the court will listen to a child’s custodial preference, but generally older children’s opinions carry more weight than those of young children. However, when a child balks about attending visits, there’s only so much that parents (or a judge can do). If you have additional questions about a child’s custodial preference in Washington, you should consult a local family law attorney. After a child attains this age, he has all the legal rights of an adult, including the ability to decide with whom he wants to associate. For example, a judge may appoint a custody evaluator or guardian ad litem in your case. Even if the child voices a mature opinion about which parent should have custody, the judge doesn’t have to follow that preference. Anytime children refuse to participate in a planned visit with their other parent, you should: Talk with them about why they do not want to participate in the visit (if they are concerned for their safety, contact your attorney for advice). You're doing the right thing in encouraging him to go, but it's up to him. There's no real age for this and, unfortunately, you may be held responsible for your child's refusals if you give in to them. A judge may consider the child’s preference along with all of the other factors relevant to that child’s best interests. If the judge believes a parent has tried to coach the child to select him or her, the judge will disregard the child’s preference when setting the custody arrangement. A child so close to majority usually has his preference followed. If mediation is unsuccessful, the parents will have to go to trial and a judge will create a parenting plan based on the child’s best interests. A judge will enforce visitation orders or even hold a parent in contempt if that parent is preventing visits between the child and the other parent. Brette's Answer: No court is going to force a 17 year old to go on visitation if he doesn't want to. A judge probably won’t penalize a parent who can’t get a teenager to attend visits with the other parent. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. Both professionals will interview parents and the children involved; however, only a guardian ad litem actually represents your child in court. Parenting plans address where the child lives (physical custody) and each parent’s decision-making rights over the child (sometimes called legal custody). Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. Visitation is designed to benefit the child, not the child’s parents. The judge may encourage the child to attend visits and examine whether abuse is causing the child to refuse visits. Nevertheless, a courts will stop short of threatening a child or sanctioning a parent when an older, independent child is simply refusing visitation. Older children are more likely to be able to assess their relationship with each parent, while younger children are more likely to be swayed by superficial factors. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, A Child's Preference in Custody Proceedings, the strength of the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s physical, educational, and developmental needs, each parent’s role in caring for the child’s daily needs, the child’s relationship with siblings and extended family members, the child’s ties to home, school, and the community. For example, if judge believes it’s in the child’s best interest to live with the non-selected parent, the court can rule against the child’s desires. When separating parents can’t agree on a custody arrangement, a judge may require the couple to attend mediation. Alternatively, the court can conduct an interview the child directly in court chambers to determine the child’s custodial preference.