You are getting divorced, and you and your spouse have a child together. You would both like to get custody and have the child live with you. However, you have heard that you don’t get to pick. The child gets to make the decision. Is that true?

There is a common myth going around that kids get to pick where they live and they have the last say. That is not how it works. In cases that end up in court, the judge can decide what custody rights you and your spouse both get. This determines where the child lives, even if that is not what the child wants.

After all, the court is supposed to look out for the child’s best interests. The child may not be able to do this on their own.

For instance, if living with your ex is clearly dangerous to the child’s health and well-being, but the child says that’s where they want to live, the court can still order the child to live with you.

All that being said, the court does listen to children when they have a preference. This is especially true as they get into their teen years. It’s one factor that they take into account; they don’t just throw out the child’s desires. However, the court also does not bow to the child’s wishes in every case. What the child wants is merely part of the equation.

This process can get complex, and it only gets worse when you start taking the myths and misinformation into account. Make sure you really understand the legal steps you need to take during a custody case in order to protect your rights.