During a divorce, the focus of the court often goes on the children. You and your partner may be worried about dividing assets and the financial aspects of the situation, but in the end, the most important thing is that the children are heard. In Ohio, the court may give the children a chance to speak out when it comes to custody and visitation. This gives them the chance to voice their opinions and gives them some control over the difficult situation.
According to the Ohio State Bar Association, the court does not always listen to the children in a divorce, but it does usually give children a chance to speak if they are old enough. The court will typically focus more on what is best for the children verses their wishes in any situation. However, children may still be given the chance to explain what they want and why they feel that way. This can help the court when making the important decisions involved.
Your children may be interviewed in private by the judge. This is how it is usually handled so the child can speak freely and not worry about hurting a parent's feelings or anything like that. The judge and other court personnel meet with your child in the judge's chambers where he or she is asked questions. It is not like being on the stand. The judge often has a general conversation with the child to get a better idea of his or her mental capabilities and understanding of the situation. This enables the judge to know how much weight to give the opinions of the child.
The law does not give children the right to choose with whom they will live at a certain age. The court holds the right to assign custody and visitation. However, your child's wishes can be considered regardless of age. The court's ultimate desire is to cause minimal disruption and stress in the child's life. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.