Your spouse files for divorce, and the two of you almost instantly start arguing about custody of the kids. You both want them to live with you.
In the heat of the moment, your spouse says that you'll just have to ask the kids. After all, your spouse says, they get to pick where they want to live, and the court has to go along with it. It's not up to you.
Is that true? Would the court just let the children choose?
This is one of the more common divorce myths. Like many myths, it stems from a place of truth. Kids can, if they're deemed old enough, tell the court where they want to live. They can have a voice in the case.
However, that's not the only consideration for the court. They also consider factors such as living situations, what the parents want, who is the child's caretaker and much, much more. The kids do not simply make the decision on their own. They just give the court one more factor to take into account.
On top of that, the court has no obligation to give in to the child's wishes. The child could beg to live with you instead of your spouse, and the court could still award joint custody to both of you or even sole custody to your spouse. At the end of the day, they are going to try to figure out what would be in the child's best interests, and that's what they're going to do.
If your relationship with your spouse is this contentious, it is very important to know what legal options you have to protect your parental rights.