At what age can a child decide which parent she wants to be with? 25 Answers as of June 24, 2011

Can a 14 year old child decide if she wants to see her parent on their visitation weekend when child support is being paid?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
It would be in the court's discretion, but unless there exists some legitimate reason to not visit, then the child must abide by the court order, just as the parents. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/24/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Children cannot decide which parent they want to be with. That would be giving them too much power and invading the province of the Court. In appropriate situations children of sufficient maturity can express their preference and the reasons for their preference to the Court, but the Court will have the ultimate say regarding custody. Child Visitation or Custody is totally independent from Child Support. It is important that children not be programmed by a parent regarding custody, visitation and/or support.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
The child can not dictate who he or she will live with. You will need to have your child's preferences considered through a Guardian ad Litem.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/20/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
No, the child cannot make such a determination all on their own. If child support is being regularly paid, that parent who pays has a right to visit with that child. Only after the child reaches 16 can they do what they like to do and if they then don't want to see the supporting parent, the support can be stopped with court approval. Consult with a matrimonial attorney. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/17/2011
Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
A child can not make the final determination on whether or not she visits with her parent. A court may consider the wishes of a child in determining visitation, however the courts encourage that both parents be involved in the lives of the child. If there are social or other reasons why the child does not wish to visit, minor's counsel may be appointed in order to determine an appropriate visitation schedule which is in the best interests of the child.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/16/2011
    The Reed Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    The Reed Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Vanessa Reed
    Under Virginia Law, at 12 years old a child can render their opinion concerning who they want to live with. However, this does not end the inquiry. The Court must look at all the factors and circumstances before making its decision.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    The court orders must be followed.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Deal & Hooks, LLC
    Deal & Hooks, LLC | Shawn P. Hooks
    A child does not get to dictate who they live with or the terms of visitation until they are of the age of majority. Their wishes are a factor that a court will consider, and the older they are the more likely a court will consider the wishes. That being said, there are other factors a court will look at in deciding whether or not to modify visitation and/or custody. The custodial parent is obligated to enforce the visitation, and failing to do so can lead to contempt charges.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    From a legal stand point, this seems to be one of those urban legends. I have heard people say that a child gets to decide where he or she lives when they're 12. Sometimes it is 13. Sometimes it is 14. However, from a strictly legal stand point, the child has a right to decide where he or she will live when he or she turns age 18. So, if push came to shove, and everyone went to court to fight over where the child is supposed to be, the court would tell you that the child has to go where the parenting plan says that the child is to go. Legal considerations aside, I suppose that there is also an issue of domestic tranquility. If you and the other parent get along well, and can cooperate, it might make some sense for both parties to be somewhat flexible about when the child goes where. This may be particularly true if the child has some good and articulible reason for not wanting to go on a particular visitation. Let's face it; most teenagers are much more interested in their friends than they are in their parents. On the other hand, if the child doesn't want to go on a visit because one parent is drunk all the time, or beats the child, or something similar, then, the appropriate response is probably to consider hiring an attorney to file an action to modify the parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    A child becomes an adult for this purpose at age 18. Until then, parents - not the child - decide where she lives. If the parents can't agree, a judge will make the decision. The judge will listen to a child and many teenagers have mature, sound reasons for what they want. But, ultimately the judge will decide what is best for the child. Where a child lives most of the time influences how much child support is required and who pays who. But, the issue of child support (paid or unpaid) doesn't influence where the child lives.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    The law states that at 14 years the court must consider the child's opinion.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law decisions about residential time are up to the parents (and the court) until the child becomes an adult at age 18. However, some teens listen better than others.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    There is not right of the child for deciding at any age.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    No, at least not from a legal standpoint. That said, there are practicalities to deal with as well. A 14YO does not get to decide these matters, you two are the parents, but who wants to be around an angry moping teenager?
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    There is no set age in Florida where a child can determine where they want to live. As they get older, it is a factor that can be considered in determining what timesharing arrangement is in their best interest, but they never get to choose.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You should discuss this matter with a divorce attorney in your community. For instance, if your child doesn't cooperate with visitation, then your spouse may blame you and seek a contempt order against you. If there are reasons why your child cannot visit, then you should discuss the problem with your attorney. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    Technically, no. She still is a minor so doesn't go to court. You would need an AMC or GAL to have your child's voice heard in court.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
    It depends on the judge.Some will consider the wishes of the child. The child cannot testify and cannot be in the courtroom.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    In Ohio, the court would consider a motion to modify, from the standard of the best interest of the child. But each state is different. Please see a local domestic relations attorney for further information.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    A child can decide who she wants to live with at 18. Prior to that, the court makes orders. Children can express their wishes, but the court is under no obligation to follow their requests. Most courts, however, will not force a child to see one parent. Issues of custody and visitation are separate and apart from support issues. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Child support is irrelevant to custody/visitation preference of a child. California law allows a judge to consider the desires of the child, as long as the child is of "sufficient age and maturity." There is no exact age specified in the law. Meaning, that being 14 along is not the end of the analysis. Rather, it's a case by case analysis to determine whether a child's expressed preference to spend time with one parent over another demonstrates (among other facts) if the child is of sufficient age and maturity to make a prudence choice. For example, if a child simply wants to spend time with one parent because that parent does not enforce rules, such as doing homework, eating a balanced diet, etc., then such preference would not be considered prudent, and a judge would not likely consider it. On the other hand, if a child wants to spend time with a parent for sound reasons, such as to maintain or further develop a bond with that parent, then such basis, and the child's preference, will likely be incorporated by the judge in his/her custody analysis and decision.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Children do NOT get to ignore the court order at any age, and a parent that attempts to encourage that could be in hot water with the court. Judges abhor attempts to limit visitation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    The judge will take into consideration the testimony of a 14 year old when deciding what is in the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    In Georgia, it is unlikely that a judge will let a child choose to cut themselves off from a parent without a reason that has something to do with the child's health, safety, or welfare.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney