When I divorced my spouse 6 years ago, it was ordered that we would alternate visitation every other weekend.
However, my daughter is now 11 and has made it known that she no longer wishes this to be the arrangement.
Is she old enough to make that decision, or will she continue to be forced into a visitation schedule she does not want?
In Pennsylvania, a child’s preference is one of the factors taken into consideration in a best interests of the child analysis, and the court will entertain requests to hear the child.
While a judge may decline to speak to a child in his or her discretion, typically the court will speak to the child if the child is able to voice his or her preference.
The more mature the child is, the more weight this preference will be given. In Pennsylvania, the child will not be called to testify, but rather the judge speaks to the child in chambers.
In Pennsylvania, a petition to modify may be filed at any time upon a substantial change in circumstances.
Until your petition has been heard by the court, you should encourage compliance with the court order in place so as to avoid a potential contempt issue.
You should consult with an attorney barred in your state to discuss the facts of your case and your state’s approach to modification of custody matters.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”