As most of the world is aware, Madonna and Guy Ritchie are involved in a custody battle over their fifteen year old son, Rocco. As family lawyers, these kinds of disputes are some of the most heartbreaking.  The question for the Judge is how much weight to place on a child’s stated preference.  Obviously this is only applicable to older children, typically teenagers.  This poses the conundrum of why the child might be choosing one parent over the other.   Did Dad buy him or her an expensive sports car?  Are the rules at Mom’s much less rigid and therefore allow a teenager to spend free time on activities that may or may not be appropriate for them?   In N.J. the Courts look very carefully at the reasoning behind the child’s words.  NJRC %:8-1 gives a Judge the authority to interview a child “in camera”, meaning in the Judge’s private office.  The attorneys for the respective parents are allowed to submit questions to the Judge that they request be asked of the child.  The wording of these questions can have a substantial impact on the information the Judge takes away from the interview.

If you or someone you know becomes involved in this type of situation, call one of the experienced lawyers at IANDOLI & EDENS- 908 879 9499 for a fee consultation today.