The age at which your child can decide who they live with, who they spend time with and how much time they spend with that parent (if any) is dependent on a number of factors. In this case, one of the first questions parents ask when it comes custody is whether the court will allow the child to choose which parent to live with. This misunderstanding causes a lot of litigation and stress between parents and their children. No. Contrary to popular belief, there is no golden age at which a child’s views will be determinative. Although the legislation does not define a minimum age, there are numerous reported case law that implies that a child’s wishes should “definitely be considered” at 12 years old according to Albers v Albers, 2011 ABQB 456. Finalising your financial separation sooner rather than later, Tips to reduce the emotional and legal costs of divorce and separation. If the parents are in agreement on primary conservatorship, an interview with the Child is not allowed. Children are not able to simply choose which parent they want to live with under North Carolina law. Courts may take the child’s preference into consideration when making an order on parenting time. Divorce and custody battles can be especially difficult on children. If not carefully monitored, this can be abused by parents as they relate to their children going forward after divorce or a final custody order has been rendered by the Court. The court will then weigh other factors and make a decision. For a child under 12 years of age, the interview is discretionary with the Court. In Arizona, there is simply no magic age at which a child gets to decide which parent they can live with when their parents divorce. The court may, but is not required to allow the attorneys for the parties, if there is an attorney representing the child (amicus attorney or attorney ad litem), or the child’s guardian to be present during the interview with the Child. He is a skilled negotiator and strategist and fights zealously for his clients family law rights. Can a 16-year-old decide which parent he wants to live with? In most instances, South Carolina is not going to allow children under the age of 12 to voice their preference about which parent they would like to live with. Divorce Divorced Parents: Kids Should Decide Where They Live/Custody Divorce can be ugly, but it doesn't have to be ugly for the kids. If your child is expressing a wish for different parenting arrangements it is best to discuss your matter with a solicitor to receive legal advice specific to your circumstances. This question potentially comes with the most ‘lawyer’ answer you will receive: it depends. The mere age of your child will not determine your family law matter. Be prepared to present your entire case and convince the court, despite the child’s preference or including the child’s preference, the best interest of the child is to remain with your or begin living with the other parent. © 2021 Evans Law Group. At any age. This DID NOT mean that they could choose which parent they wanted to live with. ... An infant would not be able to provide testimony, and the testimony of a 6 year old may not be as relevant as the testimony of a 17 year old (who is still a minor until they turn 18). Can a twelve, (12), year old child decide which parent to reside with? The age at which your child can decide who they live with, who they spend time with and how much time they spend with that parent (if any) is dependent on a number of factors. A child cannot legally “decide” which parent to live with; as seen above, there are numerous other factors to consider, and in many cases, the family law courts will make a decision based on what they believe to be in the best interest of the child. That being said, a child’s wishes can be taken into consideration by a judge during a custody trial. The parent who is not selected by the child could still change that outcome if he or she can prove to the court that the selected parent would not be able to provide for the child or is otherwise not a choice that is in the child’s best interest. How does the family court treat assets and debts incurred after separation? At what age can a child decide which parent to live with? Principal Family Lawyer at Cudmore Legal Family Lawyers Brisbane Co. Luke is experienced in family law matters ranging from divorce to child custody. In fact, Arizona has no “magic age” at which the children can choose their own parenting time schedule. Courts may take the child’s preference into consideration when making an order on parenting time. There is no defined age in Alberta or in British Columbia at which children can choose where to live when their parents are separated. You should thoroughly discuss this with your attorney and carefully set forth a strategy for conducting yourself and in the presence of the Child prior to the interview occurring. He tells her that the law states that she can choose, now that she is 12.There are many reasons that this is a bad idea but bottom line is, she does not want to. Can I negotiate my own property settlement? Most fourteen year olds are mature enough to make good witnesses. A child as young as 10 years old can at times have a voice as well according to RM vs JS, 2013 ABCA 441. I have personally been in situations where all the way up to the interview the child was expressing her desire to live with my client and changed her mind on the day of the interview. This misunderstanding causes a lot of litigation and stress between parents and their children. Another prominent legal myth is that a 16 years can decide with which parent they are going to live. In other word’s, the child’s reasons for their decision were not deemed mature and appropriate. There have been cases before the Court where a 17 year old child’s wishes were given limited weight because the basis for this child’s decision was not balanced. ... Can younger children decide where they want to live? Instead, the Texas Legislature left in the law a provision which allows the Court to conduct an interview with the child to determine that child’s wishes. This question potentially comes with the most ‘lawyer’ answer you will receive: it depends. The Court does consider the wishes of the children in … How much weight their preference is given by the judge is totally up to the judge. They also may think that the parent is trying to manipulate the child into picking them. Are assets received post family law separation included in the property settlement? There is no defined age in Alberta or in British Columbia at which children can choose where to live when their parents are separated. This form would be filed with the Court and become the basis for a suit to modify the previous custody order and seek a change in primary conservatorship. There is a common misconception that in Family Law parenting disputes about with whom a child will live, a child will have the deciding vote when they reach the age of 12. A judge may also take into account the child’s own wishes. How long do I have to do a property settlement? Can a binding financial agreement be overturned? That would be terribly unfair to ask a child. Worried about child getting taken overseas – Airport Watch List, How to avoid court – Alternative Dispute Resolution, What to do if family law orders aren’t followed – Breach of family law orders. Court Orders. When can a child choose which parent they want to live with, in Australia? After a judge decided that the 12-year-old would engage in the same child custody arrangement as the triplets, the child indicated that she no longer wanted to spend overnights with her father, who lived in … An attorney can submit details of the child’s wishes as a motion to the court. However, children under 18 cannot unilaterally pick the parent that they want to live with. She has told her told mother the same. This is an opportunity which must be carefully considered and thought through, because we all know children can be fickle under these circumstances. It is commonly misunderstood in Texas that a Child 12 years of age or older can “decide” with which parent they want to live. If you’re having a hard time viewing your child's request objectively, talk with a friend or counselor about how you can separate your child’s request from your identity as a parent. Can a parent get custody if they have a history of domestic violence? How are loans and gifts considered in family law? This is not the case. A child as young as 10 years old can at times have a voice as well according to RM vs JS, 2013 ABCA 441. The courts will still consider the best interests of the child before making any modifications. Although the legislation does not define a minimum age, there are numerous reported case law that implies that a child’s wishes should “definitely be considered” at 12 years old according to Albers v Albers, 2011 ABQB 456. A judge may ask a child who is old enough (typically 12 to 14) which parent he or she prefers to live with the majority of the time. when can children decide which parent to live with? So, the child’s preference – even if not in your favor – is not the end of the Story. Our Austin Child Custody Attorneys are experienced in child custody suits and modification suits affecting child custody. The typical scenario is that a couple divorce when their children are younger and the custody is awarded to the mother. The only exceptions to this that come to mine are: (1) if the father agrees to the entry of an order giving custody to the grandparents or (2) if the grandparents take the father to court and convince the court that the father is an unfit parent. Split Custody Schedules. Since this child only has one surviving parent, then, the child is going to be with that parent. A child’s desire in which parent to reside is one of many factors the Court will consider. Once a child reaches the age of 16, he/she is legally allowed to choose which parent to live with. In this case, one of the first questions parents ask when it comes custody is whether the court will allow the child to choose which parent to live with. This magical age is usually believed to be 12, 13, or 14. Can Your 12-year-old Decide Which Parent to Live/Visit With? Posted Nov 02, 2012 The short answer is that children can make their own decisions about where they will reside once they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in Canada. The purpose of the interview, as stated in the family code, is to allow the Court to discuss with the child:  (1) the child’s desires with regard to residency and primary conservatorship, (2) visitation, or (3) any other issues which are involved in the underlying custody suit. I am grateful that a 12 year old or really any minor under the age of 18 can’t choose which parent to live with. Mothers and Fathers rights to see their child, Suite 34, Aspley Hypermarket, Albany Creek Road, Aspley, Brisbane, Westfield CHERMSIDE Level 2, Gympie Rd, Chermside QLD 4032, 30 Chancellor Village Boulevard Sippy Downs Queensland 4556, Toowong Tower, Level 5/9 Sherwood Rd, Toowong QLD 4066. best to discuss your matter with a solicitor to receive legal advice specific to your circumstances. The Family Code provides that the court shall interview in chambers a child 12 years of age or older to determine the child’s wishes as to conservatorship or as to the person who shall have the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence. There will come a time where a child is able to ‘vote with their feet’ so to speak and place themselves physically where they want to be. But, their choice does not mean a change in residence is imminent. Usually, this is accomplished by the court bringing it’s court reporter into chambers to transcribe the interview with the Child. If so, what if the parent that child chooses is - Answered by a verified Family Lawyer Thankfully I got lucky and had a great lawyer & … This article examines all of the factors involved in deciding whether a child’s preference carries any importance with a family court judge. It is commonly misunderstood in Texas that a Child 12 years of age or older can “decide” with which parent they want to live. Published March 24, 2015 . It is all too common that after a final decree of divorce or custody, that at some point in time a child starts expressing their clear desire to live with the other parent on a primary basis. She has even gone as far as saying she’s going to run away or not get on an airplane when she’s supposed to go with her mother. The Child's Preference in Custody Cases. At what age can a child decide which parent to live with? In other circumstances a 13 or 14 year old’s wishes may be given significant weight if they are expressed in a well thought out and mature manner. As a family law lawyer, I am frequently asked this question. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. In the recent past, there was a provision in the law that any child 12 years of age or older could sign a form known as a “designation of preference” to live with the parent named in the designation. Can a 12-Year-Old Child Decide Which Parent to Live With? There are many, many, many factors that may come into play when this occurs. I would ask all parents out there to think about how many major decisions a 12-year-old gets to make alone and have the decisions bind his/her parents. The test the Court applies when considering the opinions and wishes of your child is two fold: However the answer to the two-fold test is not a simple “yes” or “no” and is not a question of whether your child’s wishes will be considered or not. In my country, the law is, that at 12, the child's opinion has to be noted and listened to in divorce cases, but it should never be left to a child to choose between their parents. NO! In Michigan, a sixteen-year old can even get married with parental consent. After the age of 12, however, the court may consider the child’s wishes in conjunction with other factors. A child’s preference can be most effective when both parents are equally “fit,” all living conditions for the child are relatively equal, and the child is fourteen (14) years of age or over. The Court will still consider the evidence in the case – such as the opinions of the Child’s therapist or counselor, teachers, friends and neighbors and other family members along with many, many other factors. One of the most common mis-perceptions about Texas law is that once a child turns 12, he or she can decide where he or she will live, meaning the child can decide who has custody. Child Support Agreements Binding vs Limited. which parent do they want to live with). When the Child is Younger than 12. Questions regarding if a child or teenager can decide which parent to live with. A child need not be at this magic number, but generally it is a good number. 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