When a child's parents can't resolve their child custody issues between themselves, a family law court will find an arrangement for them. Family law in each state requires judges to make their determinations based solely on the best interests of the child. This is determined using factors such as existing relationships and the stability of each parent's living situation. In some states, including New Mexico, the courts may also consider the wishes of the child when making their decisions.
Under New Mexico law, the courts are obligated to consider the wishes of the child if they're at least 14 years old—but courts are not bound by those preferences. In many cases, the child's wishes may be granted. But if the court finds that their desires don't align with its perception of their best interest, those preferences may be ignored. For instance, children may prefer living with one parent due to a lack of discipline or a permissive atmosphere that children may enjoy, but do not contribute to their long-term well-being.
To shield children from the friction of the dispute process, and to allow them to express their preference honestly, family law judges in New Mexico will typically interview the child privately in their chambers. The parents usually won't be allowed to sit in on the interview. However, their attorneys may be permitted to attend, along with a guardian ad litem if one has been appointed by the court. Every state handles these delicate matters differently, though, so it's important to consult with a local attorney for answers to your family law questions.
The Susan Cuddy-Moore Law Office in Carlsbad, NM, understands how difficult family law matters can be, especially when your relationship with your children is at stake. Visit their website to learn more about their wide range of child custody and mediation services, or call (575) 234-1277 to schedule a consultation with an attorney today.