A recent news report regarding refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. claimed that a border agent asked a 3 year old child which parent she wanted to stay with during detention.  NPR interviewed the mother, you can hear her tell the story in her own voice, with English translation, here: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/11/740608316/migrants-face-legal-crisis-at-el-paso-immigration-court. The good news is that based on the child’s heart condition, the doctor and the lawyers advocated for an exemption to allow the family to enter the U.S.  

While Congress debates major changes to immigration law, standards established by a long history of family law should help guide the issue of family separation.  Years ago, some states’ divorce laws allowed children of a specified age, often 12, to choose which parent they preferred. As family law evolved, it became clear that children rarely are mature enough to make this life-altering decision, and that many factors must be considered to determine a plan that is in the best interests of the child.  

Best Interests of the Child

In Washington, child custody decisions are made based on the “best interest of the child” standard. During your divorce proceedings, it may be possible for your teen to express their opinion about custody but before your teen’s views will be heard, the court will consider the child’s age, maturity, and factors such as emotional needs, and cognitive abilities. 

Our Washington Child Custody Attorneys Are Here For You

How the court determines the best interest of the child and a host of other questions are answered by family law attorney Molly B. Kenny on the section of this website that addresses child custody.  Based on her extensive experience practicing family law in Washington, Molly B. Kenny is a reliable source for accurate information on issues affecting your divorce. 

 
Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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