The maturity of children to make their own decisions about custody matters may be a question that is addressed in a new bill that was recently passed in another state. The bill, which may be of interest to readers in Ohio, would allow kids as young as 14 to assert opinions in a child custody case. This legislation could change how such matters are decided for some.

Children typically do not officially influence child custody decisions in Ohio or elsewhere across the nation. However, with the passage of this new bill, teenagers who are the subject of a child custody matter could find that their thoughts are a consideration for the court. However, a recent amendment to the bill made clear that a kid’s opinion, while important, would not be the deciding factor in a child custody case.

Courts and parents usually work through child custody matters during or after a divorce. A part of this often includes negotiations between the parties. However, when parents are unable to agree, the court steps in to decide who will be the custodial parent. This decision is based on many factors including lifestyle, location of parent’s residence and economic issues.

In every child custody case, the parents and the court work to make a decision that they believe is in the best interest of the kids involved. Though there are many factors that play into such a decision, none stand out as the controlling factor in a child custody case. For some in another state, the list of factors to be considered may soon involve the feelings of teenaged children. Though this legislation was not passed in our state, it may be worth watching by those in Ohio going through the child custody process.

Source: deseretnews.com, “Senate passes bill to allow children at 14 to state custody preferences in divorce,” Marjorie Cortez, Feb. 7, 2013