If I'm 13 and I want to live with my dad, what is the legal age to choosing which parent I want to live with? 12 Answers as of May 21, 2013

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Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
The decision of whether or not to allow a minor child to testify as to a preference of which parent to live with is made on a case-by-case basis. Your father would need to file a Supplemental Petition to modify the current Parenting Plan. He would then have to file a Motion to allow you to testify. The judge would probably want to meet with you privately to determine whether they thought you were mature enough to make such a big decision. Even if you are allowed to testify, your preference is only one of many factors that a court will look at in making the decision of where a child should live.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/21/2013
The Houser Law Firm, P.C.
The Houser Law Firm, P.C. | A. Bowden Houser
18. Of course if your situation is resolved in Court, you are old enough that most judges would want to hear your opinion.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 5/21/2013
John Russo | John Russo
There is none per se, courts will listen to the child's preference when they get to be around your age (13) but there are a number of other factors that they must also look at.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 5/20/2013
Law Offices of John S. Keating
Law Offices of John S. Keating | John S. Keating
If your parents cannot agree on who you live with, or on how much time you will spend with each of them, then it is ultimately up to a judge to decide. But since you are 13, the judge will likely give considerable weight to your wishes when making his or her decision.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 5/20/2013
Law Office of Michael W. Crosson
Law Office of Michael W. Crosson | Michael W. Crosson
In California, there is no specific age when a minor can "choose which parent" they want to live with. However, the preference of the child is one of the factors under the "Best Interests of the Child" Standard. In general, the older the child is, the more their preferences count. At age 13, I would expect a mediator to discuss custody and visitation issues with you and take them into account when writing a report to the Court. I would also expect the Court to give some weight to them, but certainly consider other factors as well. Also, the Court will consider the maturity of the child and how thoughtful the expressed preferences are (i.e. the reasons behind the preference).
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2013
    Kunin &Carman | Ishi Kunin
    In Nevada, there is no age for a child to choose. Some judges will listen to a child based on age and maturity. Some do not care what a 17 1/2 year old wants. I suggest you talk to your parents maturely, and state what your reasons are for choosing to live with one parent over the other.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/20/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    18. Your father can ask the court to change custody and the court may listen to you, but does not have to.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 5/20/2013
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    In Nevada children do not choose where they want to live. The court decides that. In a change of custody motion, a parent can ask that the child be interviewed and that is where the child can express a preference for who she lives with.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/20/2013
    Ronald Main & Associates | Tracian M. Laignel
    All you need to do is let your parents know which parent you would like to live with. If your parents cannot work it out and your dad wants to fight it, then he parent would need to file a motion to modify custody and the judge should take your opinion into consideration when deciding whether custody is to be modified. Now this is not a guarantee that you will be able to go live with your dad, just that the court will listen to you.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 5/20/2013
    Webster & Associates | Anita Webster
    Unless your mom agrees that you can live with your dad, your dad will have to file a Motion with the court asking the court to give him custody. The judge will probably ask you to speak to a specialist with the Family Mediation Center so you can let the court know why you want to live with your dad. The Judge will want to know that you have thought this through and that your reasons for wanting to live with your dad are good reasons. This response is intended to provide general information only and is not a substitute for speaking to an attorney. This response does not create an attorney client relationship between the Anita Webster, Esq. or Webster & Associates and the readers.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/20/2013
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    The legal age is 18, however under family code section 3042, "If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation, the court shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation." This means the child can testify if they want to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2013
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    A child has the right to select their custodial parent at age 14. But the judge should give some weight and consideration to a 13-year old's wishes.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/20/2013
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