At what age can a child decide who he or she wants to live with in a custody situation? 34 Answers as of June 03, 2013

At what age can a child decide who he/she wants to live with in a child custody situation?

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

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
There is no specific age. It is a question of the maturity of the child, and depending on that the court will take the child's wishes in consideration but it is never the only thing that matters. The court will look to the "best interests of the child" and determine custody on that basis.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/19/2011
Fox Law Firm LLC
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
Usually the courts will take into consideration more heavily the testimony and desires of a minor who is of and over the age of 14.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 10/18/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Under Minnesota law, a child can never decide where he or she will reside. To change custody has a very high standard requiring a showing of endangerment and that the benefit of a change in custody will outweigh any harm.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 10/18/2011
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook | Cathy R. Cook
Ohio no longer has an age of election. Rather, a child has input in parenting time and custody when he is mature enough to do so. Maturity is determined by the parenting department, if the court has one, or the magistrate or judge who is hearing the case.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/18/2011
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
That's usually at the discretion of the court. A child's request is not necessarily in the child's best interests, the test that the courts apply.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/18/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    The law and the Court do not give that "power" to minor children. However, if a child is of sufficient age and maturity, the Court may consider the child's preferences and reasons for those preferences in making a child custody determination.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    In Texas the current age to confer with a Judge is 12 YO. Under 12 it is at the Judge's discretion, so be prepared to explain why it should happen. The best argument I have heard is a sibling over 12 has spoken to the Judge and the younger child should not be left out.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    It's not that easy. There are other factors a court must consider other than the child's preference.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    In Wisconsin, there is no magical age, however, the older a child is, the more their opinion matters in the list of items the court has to consider.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    In custody cases, the child, unless emancipated earlier, is no longer a child at age 19, the age of majority in AL. Many, many people hold a misconception that there is a minimum age, such as 14, perhaps, where the child gets to determine where he or she will live. That is a commonly held erroneous belief. I actually was successful in attaining custody for my client over my his 14 year old daughter despite her wishes to remain in her mother's custody not too many years ago. The child is flourishing in her father's custody, and excelling in school. The judge and the guardian ad litem made the right call in that case, contrary to the 14 year old's desires. She is happy as a lark now, in a much more stable environment. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    That depends on the state you are in. You failed to tell us what state it is.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Pashan Movasseghi, Esq.
    Law Office of Pashan Movasseghi, Esq. | Pashan Movasseghi, Esq.
    Technically speaking this decision is not up to the child. However, the closer the child is to 18 years old, the more consideration the court will give to his wishes. I suggest contacting a local attorney who specializes in Family Law or Divorce to discuss the specifics of your case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    The child has an absolute right to decide where they live once they reach the age of majority. Until then ,if the parents do not agree, the court is in the role of determining what is in the child's best interests. The court may consider the child's wishes and, if the child is over 14 ,might allow the child to express their desires to the court if the court feels this would be in the child's best interest.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    In California the courts will take the child's wishes into consideration, however they will not allow them to make a choice in a custody situation. The California courts generally find that the child's best interests are served where there is a relationship with both parents. If there are issues of abuse, drugs or alcohol then the courts will consider that in the ruling.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/15/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    Never as the judge always decides.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/15/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    There is no magic age. If the child is mature and intelligent, then at between 6-15, the judge may hear from the child.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You should be 18 years old. However, the court will consider the minor's wishes prior to age 18.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    When the child is 18, he/she is an adult and can choose where to live. Until then the child's wishes will be considered, but the decision authority remains with the parents and/or the court.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    In Washington, the age should be18.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    Usually around 13.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    No set age but usually at age 12 and thereafter the child's preference is a factor.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    There isn't one in the State of Florida. I child's reasonable preference can be considered if they are old enough and mature enough, but that is only one of multiple factors that are considered in determining what is in the child's best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    At age 14 the child has the right to select which parent they want to live with. This selection is a presumption and the judge still must find that the child's selection is in their best interest. But generally, unless something is wrong with the parent that the child selects to the point where it is contrary to the child's best interest, the child's selection will control.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    In California, there is no specific age. Rather, in a disputed custody matter, the court will incorporate a child's wishes into the custody determination if the child is of "sufficient age and maturity." In other words, is the child mature enough to make a sound decision when it comes to his/her custody preference? Many facts may be considered by a judge to establish whether a child is of sufficient age and maturity to incorporate a child's expressed custody preference. Best to call a local family law lawyer to get a more detailed answer to your question.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    A child can't decide ever. A court, however, will usually listen to the child and give the child's opinion and/or desires increasing weight as they grow older. By the time they're teenagers their opinion carries substantial weight.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    18. Before then, the child's preference will be considered in deciding what is in the child's best interests. The older the child, the more likely the child's preference will be approved by the court.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    When the child turns age 18. There is, in Washington, this myth that seems to go around periodically that the child can decide where he or she wants to live when the child reaches age 12 or 13 or 14 or whatever the current version of the myth says. These are all wrong. The reality is - until the child is 18, either the parents or the court gets to decide where the child will live. Now, if the child is of suitable mental and emotional maturity, the court can take the wants of the child into consideration. However, even in this situation, the final decision is NOT up to the child.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    That would be 18.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    A minor child (under 18) never gets to "decide" which parent to live with; however, a child's wishes are one factor among many that a court must consider in making a determination. Older children's wishes carry more weight, but the court still has to meet the standard of the "best interests of the child," not just "what the child wants."
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Completely: 16 or older and depending on their situation, pre-16 up to the court.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/14/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney