A child’s best interests are the primary focus of Texas family law and do not specify a specific age for a child’s right to choose. For example, one parent may buy the child toys and sweets. All other consultations are a $250 fee. Texas family code accounts for a child’s opinion no matter the age. But, this does not mean that a child… Once the child has made a decision, he will have to sign an Affidavit of Custody Election and submit it to the court. Possible Consideration of a Child's Age When Determining Custody. Well, when a child reaches 16 they are legally able to decide where they wish to live, unless there is a Residence Order or Child Arrangement Order that specifies living arrangement up to 18. WHEN CAN CHILDREN DECIDE WHICH PARENT TO LIVE WITH? Her sister lives in Ct. and she would like to move back … A nine-year-old may tell the Judge that a parent loves the child because that parent does what is best for the child even if it may make the child unhappy from time to time. *Please note, consultations for Bankruptcy & Personal Injury are free of charge. Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Legal Age For Child To Choose Custody. The Family Law Act (1975) does not specify an age for when a child can choose where to live, however there are general understandings and practises. But as a child gets closer to the age of majority, which is 18 years old in Ontario, they have more say about where and with whom they live. Also, sometimes child preference can be a factor when there are disparate conditions in both parents’ households and living conditions. When there is a dispute about where or with whom a child will primarily live, the child’s wishes are just one of a number of factors a … 2. child’s level of maturity: In this regard the Court is assisted by a family consultant (generally This is a report done by a specially trained person who talks to you and writes down what you tell them. Instead, the judge in each case must determine whether the child is mature enough to have a reasonable preference. Let's consider the "no spouse's signature" divorce options. If a child is able to voice their opinions, then they can state which parent they choose to reside with. Until then it is ultimately the decision of the parents to decide or if they cannot agree, a child arrangement order will specify where the child lives. A nine-year-old may tell the Judge that a parent loves the child because that parent does what is best for the child even if it may make the child … This communication does not … A child over the age of 12 can express their preference, and their opinion should have significant weight in the court's decision. As you can see, there is no magic age the court will allow to, by … Until they are age 18, children are bound to live with their parents or guardians UNLESS there is a court order directing otherwise. A child can decide where they want to live at age 18. For starters, any child age 17 or older can choose the parent he/she prefers to live with. Very few children understand that a parent with no or few rules may not be the best parent in the long run (assuming that the rules imposed by the stricter parent are reasonable, of course). Most fourteen year olds are mature enough to make good witnesses. Their preference can evolve over time, driven by a variety of factors (e.g. There is no specific age when Alabama courts must consider a child's opinion. It is difficult to be both and being mainly the child’s friend is usually an easier path even if it is not the best decision for the child. Texas does not allow children to choose where to live at any age. Generally speaking, a judge will take the time to interview children between the ages of 9 and 17 to find out what their preferences are when it comes to living arrangements and child custody. They say any child below the teen areas have less influence on custody than those around the age of 15 or 16 due to maturity. Ideally, both parents would understand and want what is best for their child. After the age of 12, however, the court may consider the child’s wishes in conjunction with other factors. In such a discussion, the Judge will assess the child’s maturity and ability to understand the situation. What is the age that a child can choose who they live with? To which of those two children’s idea of good parenting will the Judge give the most weight? A child can always choose to address the court and be heard regarding which parent they would like to live with. Contrary to popular belief, there is no golden age at which a child’s views will be determinative. In terms of child custody, the most important thing to remember is that the court’s decision is based on what’s in the best interest of the child(ren). As a family law lawyer, I am frequently asked this question. With or without specific statutes, most states do not set a definitive age at which a child is old enough to voice her opinion regarding which parent she wants to live with. At what age can a child decide where she wants to live. 25/04/2017 Author: Clarissa Rayward “My son is almost 14 and daughter almost 12. But if you’re wondering when SHE can choose, thats more her choice. The court will consider the preference in making a custody determination but is not bound by the preference. Child custody is one of the most complex matters in a Colorado divorce case.Determining which parent will receive joint, shared, or full custody of children will become a decision of the court, if the parents cannot agree to custody terms on their own. CONTACT THE LANCASTER LAW FIRM TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION. I was asked this again just the other day. Instead, the judge in each case must determine whether the child is mature enough to have a reasonable preference. Texas family code accounts for a child’s opinion no matter the age. 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. A child’s insight into its life with each parent, when intelligently and maturely expressed by the child, is far more important than the child’s age. 10, 12 or 16, a child can make their own decision. This communication does not create an attorney/client relationship and is not legal advice. Age Limit. Nowhere in this statue does it states that a child of a certain age gets to choose his or her custodian. Your age and maturity will make a difference. A child’s desire in which parent to reside is one of many factors the Court will consider. The answer can be complicated and is often “situation specific”, i.e., every family is different and thus custody will depend on the situation of that particular family. If the Child is Over the Age of 14. Many children prefer the parent with the fewest “rules” favoring the one who lets the child “get away with” bad or inappropriate behavior more than the other. 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. There are, of course, life circumstances where, day-to-day, one parent’s occupation will not allow as much time being spent with a child, but the Judge understands and considers that. Texas does not allow children to choose where to live at any age. When both parents are on the same good-parenting page, a child is less likely to have a strong preference and the Court avidly supports the child spending as close to equal time with each parent as possible… and that should be the parents’ goal as well. Perhaps more importantly, the Judge will see that the child may choose a particular parent for the wrong reason. Can my child choose which parent they want to live with? There is no specific age when Alabama courts must consider a child's opinion. To be a viable a witness, a child needs to be able to be cognizant of his or her family situation, know the difference between a lie and the truth, know there are consequences for lying, and promise to tell the truth. These folks “hear” that if a child is 12 (or 13 or 14 or 15…), the child has the right to make the final decision as to with whom the child wishes to stay. When Can a Child Legally Choose Which Parent to Live With? There is no magical age in which a child can choose which parent to live with. Only in rare cases would the clear preferences of a child this age … This can create further conflict, hard feelings and strain on the relationships. However, if parents can’t agree, the court will decide. However, just because the child wishes to live with one parent doesn’t mean the judge will grant that wish. At What Age Can a Child Choose Where to Live? Family Code Section 3042 requires the Court to consider and give due weight to a child’s preference regarding custody if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to … Many parents tell me their child will be 12 years old, 13 years old, 14 years old soon and will be able to make their own decisions. In other cases, again based upon the court’s discretion and determination, an individual child might not have sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent decision at the age of 15. The state recognizes that it might not always be the best decision to force a child to live with one parent when he may be closer to the other. The simple fact is that a child’s age has very little to do with it and Pennsylvania law does not recognize any particular age as allowing a child to automatically decide. In Kentucky family court cases, including those in Louisville or Oldham County, parenting schedules are set by what is in the best interests of the child. 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