Child Custody: Child's Reasonable Preference

Child Custody: Child's Reasonable Preference

In the case of Kubicki v. Sharpe (decided 28 August 2014), the Michigan Court of Appeals found that the trial court had erred by not considering the minor child’s reasonable preference pursuant to MCL 722.23(i). The circuit court had held, “The parties did not want the [c]ourt to interview the child. Therefore, his preference has not been considered by the [c]ourt.” The Court of Appeals, however, held, “Regardless whether the parties wished for an interview, the court was affirmatively required to consider the child’s preference.”

The weight that courts give to the child’s reasonable preference generally increases with age. Caselaw shows that the minimum age for the consideration of such a preference is six years old. Kubicki demonstrates that even though young children do not determine unilaterally where to spend most of their time, the court must consider their preference. 

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