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Child Custody - evaluation of the child's preference?


This question relates to Mercer County Pennsylvania Court and the Judge's decision regarding the child's preference for overnight visitations.  Is there a certain age of the child when the Judge will make a decision based on an evaluation of the child's preference?  How can a Judge be convinced that it is in the best interest of the child's welfare to allow the child to decide at which home to stay overnight?

Review and Analysis of Child Preference in Custody Matters in Mercer County, Pennsylvania

Evaluating a child's preference in child custody matters is a nuanced process. The best interest of the child remains paramount, and the courts in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, often take the child's age and maturity into account when determining their preference for overnight visitations.

Relevant Statutes and Legal Resources:

  • Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 23: This governs domestic relations and contains information about custody.
  • Section 5328: Factors to consider when awarding custody.

Link to the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes

Solutions and Considerations:

The key is demonstrating that granting the child's preference aligns with their best interests. Courts usually consider:

  • Child's Age and Maturity: No specific age is set where a child's preference becomes paramount, but typically, older children's preferences might be given more weight.

  • Factors Impacting the Child's Welfare: The child's safety, emotional and physical well-being, and overall development are crucial. It's beneficial to provide evidence, such as academic records, testimonials from teachers or counselors, or other documentation that supports the child's preference.

  • Consistency and Stability: Courts often favor situations that offer stability. If one home offers a more stable environment, this could be a significant factor.

Link to Pennsylvania's Child Custody Factors

Estimate Rates for Legal Services in Mercer County:

Type of Law Estimated Cost Notes
Family Law Consultation $250 - $500 Based on experience & location
Child Custody Case $2,000 - $5,000 Dependent on complexity
Overnight Visitation $1,000 - $2,500 May vary with specifics
Mediation Services $100 - $300 per hour Based on mediator's experience

Note: These are general estimates and may vary based on the specifics of the case, the experience of the attorney, and other related factors.

Clarifications and Call to Action:

If you're navigating this complex area of law, it's vital to find the right lawyer experienced in child custody matters. They can provide guidance tailored to your unique situation.

Are you unsure about where to start? Don't hesitate to ask a free legal question to get directed advice!

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. Child's Perspective: Has the child communicated a consistent preference over time or are their feelings recent?
  2. Reasons for Preference: What are the underlying reasons the child prefers one home over another?
  3. Factors Affecting the Child's Welfare: Are there any specific incidents or patterns of behavior in either household that might impact the child's well-being?


The information provided above is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by the use of this information.

Latest reviews & rating
Last answer by childwelfare (review)  |  Written  6 years 11 months ago
Written by Mike (review) Tue, 12/06/2016 - 02:44 Hello. There are few related articles. Read, How is a Child’s Preference and Choice in Custody Determined? There are also questions like: When Can a Child Choose Where to…
Last answer by MeCourt (review)  |  Written  6 years 11 months ago
Written by Mike (review) Tue, 12/06/2016 - 02:44 Hello. There are few related articles. Read, How is a Child’s Preference and Choice in Custody Determined? There are also questions like: When Can a Child Choose Where to…

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Comments: answer this question

"Child Custody - evaluation of the child's preference?"

child custody attorneys Pennsylvania

Written by MeCourt (review)
Tue, 12/06/2016 - 23:08

Stumbling beyond Best Interests of the Child: Reexamining Child Custody Standard-Setting in the Wake of Minnesota's Four Year Experiment with the Primary Caretaker Preference. Its not related to Pennsylvania, but even  and thus may be of interest. A Child’s Best Interests Under the New PA Child Custody Law. Remember, If the child demonstrates appropriate maturity, courts will examine the child’s preferences. The judge will consider other factors too:

  • Relationship with the child (children)
  • Abuse and real mental health
  • Mother vs father - courts favor
Written by childwelfare (review)
Wed, 12/07/2016 - 08:55

Courts make a variety of decisions that affect children, including placement and custody determinations, safety and permanency planning, and proceedings for termination of parental rights. Whenever a court makes such a determination, it must weigh whether its decision will be in the “best interests” of the child.

Learn more about:

  • Best Interests Definition
  • Guiding Principles of Best Interests Determinations
  • Best Interests Factors
  • Other Considerations
  • PDF Source here
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