At what age can a child choose which parent they want to live with?

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Natalie - posted on 01/08/2013

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Hi i am ten years old i don't know what to do i want my mom to take off the joint custody that she put up when her and my dad got a divorce i don't want to go to my dads. My dad and step mom fight all of the time and i just want to stay with my mom my mom has tried taking off joint custody but my dad is just not going along with that very well. WHAT SHOULD I DO??????????

Melissa - posted on 03/19/2013

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Hi I live in ca I not legally seperated. We have lived apart for 6 months. The father won't help us financially and I don't feel comfortable with the kids being with him. Iftar kids don't want to see him, do I have to make them, legally. I'm in California ages are 14,12, and 10.

Caroline - posted on 08/04/2013

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Does anyone know what age a child born in Florida USA can make his/her own decision to live with their mother who is Canadian and lives in Canada?

Valerie - posted on 02/22/2013

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do any of yall know how old your child has to be to choose in Louisiana?

Skipper - posted on 01/13/2013

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Incorrect. In no state in the U.S. can a minor child "decide" where s/he lives. It is ultimately up to the courts with several witness accounts, sometimes including the minor child in question.

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Lisa - posted on 01/03/2014

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how old do you have to be if the child lives in colorado with her mom but wants to live in nj with her father

Cindy - posted on 11/30/2013

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Let him stay with his father I know its hard but your son is at the age he will figure out were he really belongs and wants to just have patients they always come back to momma thats why we hold that title

Torrieze - posted on 11/26/2013

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where ever your child what to be let them go you makeing a somthing out of them that you dont want

Jennifer - posted on 10/19/2013

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Can a father try to get full custody just becuz he is mad at the mother for taking him back to court to make him pay 20% for child support when all along he was paying maybe 10% and never turning in his pay increases for the last 3 yrs.
Our child is 13 & i'vd had custody for the entire13 yrs. Also, my son cries and tries to make every excuse he can find to try to get out of going every other weekend. Please give me some advice!

Bonnie - posted on 09/23/2013

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my daughter has a is 6 yrs. old and 2 yr old the parents separating and mom let children go on a dad visit and dad never let them come back home and he also put her in another school and the mom went a month without seeing her children now mind you this is a mom that stayed home with her children all the time so they went to court and they gave the dad the children and mom can see them on the weekend only because the 6 yrs. old like the school where she goes does everybody think 6 yrs. old is kind of young to make that dissolution please help looking for some info on this for my daughter

Kara - posted on 09/19/2013

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I have been a single parent for the past 12 years and i have not got any financial support from their father. My son who is now 14 is brainwashed by his dad and wants to go to him. What should i do? I am from Sri Lanka...

William - posted on 09/07/2013

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At what age can my children decide to choose which parent to live wit in pennsylvania????

Ybba - posted on 06/30/2013

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what about in illinois? what age the child can decide were he/she wants to live

Sally - posted on 02/16/2013

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I need your opinion on what to do my daughter called me saying that her dad took the phone away because she got a D on her report card and that he basically was holding her down on her with her head being pushed down against her bed and with his girlfriend watching while all along whe was crying because her dad wanted to take her phone away from her is this okay please help me?

Razel - posted on 12/17/2012

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do u think in the philippines have also that kind of right of the children? because the father of my kids are very tough,he is very much pride maybe he cannot accept the reality because he told me
before i will not keep on moaning coz i got the money,even if he was having an affair with another woman,he told me that nobody will love me,my ex is 10 years older than me and also he tampered my age when we get married, i found out that our wedding was fake because there was no license, so its easy for me to annulled our wedding

Razel - posted on 12/17/2012

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at what age the child can chose where they wanna go?i have 2 girls they are 12 and 14 me and there father are both have another family there father is married a young woman he is 30 years older and they have one baby now, my 2 girls wants to go with me for they are not happy with there father because there father will only go them every december if its his holiday we both sending money to our kids and there grandmother stay in there house and she is also bed rest,

Michelle - posted on 10/27/2012

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The question was WHAT AGE.... as far as the other info... i would hope as a mom she would have already thought that... plus.. no one knows the situation, it might not be a issue of what the child wants but more of whats best for the child. in Alabama its 13.... in NC ... i believe its the same age..

Randi - posted on 10/27/2012

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in Ontario Canada there is no set age limit but the older the child gets the more say they have, or the more there say will be listened to....and I think a lot of women are misinterpreting what is being asked as i see alot of people saying "women dont keep your kids from their dads this is wrong etc. etc." well thats not always the case ladies, my children (both of them) dont want to see their dad anymore as he is never home and treats them poorly and they spend the entire weekend cooped up in a tiny little house with their grandparents watching tv all weekend, they always come home with headaches and are sick, and dirty and havnt bathed all weekend, i am trying to have full custody without them seeing him because they are begging me to do it and crying when its time to go to his house.

Bigmommy - posted on 09/28/2012

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any body that keeps there kids from any parents needs help, why spend all that money in court try to keep one from seeing the kids, all you are hurting is the kids, and if you do the research the kids that are sitting in jail today are the ones from family like this. So all you mothers and fathers just keep all the fighting going and keep the jails full. Its only your fault because you guys cant grow up and let the poor kid and have both parent, your just more concern about the child support your not going to get. Look at the dame kids please, or start making plans on the weekends going to the State Pin and see your child.

Jenny - posted on 09/11/2012

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well if your parents are divorced and you want to live with the other parent, you have to wait until like 18 but i who have divorced parents want to live with my mom so she made a deal with me that is i work hard and go to a good high school i could live with her at that age but it depends how old mostly

Sherri - posted on 08/27/2012

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@Sara at 17 she most definitely has a huge say. She will legally be an adult in a year and then she will be able to do what she wants anyways.

Sara - posted on 08/27/2012

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my daughter will be 17 this november her father is now filing for visitation rights he has been in and out of jail since she was born rehab as well.....cannot keep a job and to stop it off scalded my 2 year old son....total low life....makes promises and never keeps them...any way i live in New York does my daughter have a say?

Alethea - posted on 08/16/2012

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WOMEN let these dads see their kids its only going to come back and bite u on the arse you hear all the time that it wrecks the kids and fathers lives shame on u learn to let go !!!!!!!!!

Lorna - posted on 07/23/2012

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My 11 year old daughter (12 in sept) has just told me today she wants to live with her dad, who lives with his mother, step father and younger sister, since we split 2 years ago. He has a very serious drug addiction (hence the breakdown of our relationship and to which his family are in denial about) but he has told our daughter that he is clean of the drugs and she believes him. I know for a fact he is not. She is very upset with me because I have become very strict on her the past month or so as her behavior has went into serious decline since his visits stopped being supervised (purely because other family members of his were present on visits). I am now at a complete loss as too what to do with my daughter. Solicitors are involved at my request and obviously i will be seeking their advice tomorrow but at the moment I am petrified that I am going to lose her to him simply because he doesn't believe in discipline (which is why she wants to leave me). I know that in the eyes of the law he doesn't stand a chance but in the cold hard light of day my daughter is going to hate me even more and be pushed even further towards him once she is told that no way in hell am i (or the courts) are going to allow her to go and live with a heroin addict. This is the reality I am faced with despite what the law or common sense has to say on the matter as these things make no impact on an 11 year old child. Any one got any advice for this kind of situation? Because I am at a total loss.

Julia - posted on 11/17/2011

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People are assuming that the child has been "put" into this situation. Case with me, the kids have been asking to live with me because there are 9 people in thier Dad's house 7 kids (under age 13) and two adults. Be sure you have all the facts before jumping to conclusions about the parenting of another mother...just saying. I always try and help the kids see the good at thier fathers. I think their Dad is a good man, but it is thier choice. As I am sure is the case with Shae.

[deleted account]

so my daughter is 6 and wants to live at her fathers because of all the "great" stuff. and she has become attached with her "family" step brother and new baby brother over there. she apparently "likes" it over there. but you see i have said no and told her that her father is hardly ever there.(i said it nicer of course). i dont know what to do. i know my ex will fight me for anything and everything. so im kinda stuck at what to do with such a young kid and an angry ex that always trys to make life hell. i dont force my opinions and ideas on her but i feel he/they do.

Stephanie - posted on 05/03/2010

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I have read all the posts and I agree and disagree.... Should a child have to be put in the position of choosing?? no I don't think that they should, but I think depending on their age they should have a say. If possible the parents should try to get along and stand united in the raising of the child but sometimes despite the best of efforts and intentions that is not possible. I have not been with my ex husband for over 9 years and up until recently (the last 3 years) we were able to talk and work out visits (though few and far between on his part not mine)...Now everything is a battle, and when we go to court next my daughter WANTS to speak with the judge. (She will be 12 in Aug.) I have tried to compromise (so it wouldn't come to this) until I was blue in the face but nothing satisfies my ex anymore. It is to the point where he is taking it out on our daughter when he doesn't get his way. And now she doesn't even want to go to his house because she gets yelled at and has to listen to her father bad mouth me and my fiancee the whole time she's there.
So should I just ignore my daughters wishes and her well being, simply because she is a child? Sometimes in life we are put into positions that are unpleasant. And it forces us to make tough decisions, maybe one that we would otherwise (in a perfect world) not have made. And sometimes the courts need to hear from the children so it doesn't just look like vindictive ex fighting for no reason.
Simple put it depends on the situation and what would be in the best interest of the child.. It's my impression that all of you moms who are against having the child choose/voice their opinion have a good parenting relationship with your exes and I think thats great...but that is not always the case. I have said this before and will say so again...Children see and understand alot more than most adults give them credit for. And just because they are a child doesn't mean that there wants and wishes should be ignored...They have as much right as we adults to be heard. So it all depends on the situation and the child.

Angie - posted on 05/02/2010

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Why would u let a child decide what parent to live with?? they are children and cant make that dicision. Just because the two adults couldnt get along and work out the issues shouldtn have anything to do with the child.Now that ur no longer together you need to set up a schedule so the child knows which days he will be with mom and which days with dad. And stick to that schedule. And dont let ur issues be there issues. thats not fair to ask them to decide or even to allow them to decide. It both ur responsibility to give ur child an evironment that he feels safe and happy in. And that he knows both parents are available at all times.

Suzi - posted on 03/11/2010

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When I had problems with my ex and daughter over the holidays I told my daughter that she needed both of us in her life as there are some things her dad can do for her that I cant and vice versa and she understood that. We have now been told what school she is going to in September and her dad really kicked off when he found out which school it was because it wasn't the school he wanted her to go to (never mind where she wanted to go!!) but she is really excited about going to the school she has been given so he can't complain now (which must be killing him!) He has tried since we separated to do his best to undermine me in her eyes but she is clever enough to take no notice and I am sure that when she is old enough she will be able to make the right decision for herself.

Penelope - posted on 03/05/2010

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I was 11 and my brother was 13 when we asked the court to let us live with my dad. Here in Nevada there is something about 12 being old enough to stay home alone, and that also means 12 is old enough to babysit. I bet a family attorney could tell you.

Tonya - posted on 03/01/2010

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There is the base age, depending on where you are, of a given age. The court takes into account the maturity of the child and issues in the divorce.

Right now, I am battling my ex because he moved out of state after refusing to allow me to move so that I would be closer to my family to get help going to school. My ex has bipolar disorder, severe clinical depression and seasonal affective disorder and likes his porn when his bipolar is in full swing. The types of porn were the final straw in our split and is a reason for concern where my children would be 10 hours from me and have no family within a 6 hour drive in good weather. He's also the type that has blamed me for my oldest son failing a year of school when the kiddo wasn't turning in homework and was playing mom against dad and dad literally told me that he couldn't believe that my son would lie to us about school.

I believe that in most circumstances kids should have some say, but there are some that kids just can't fully understand.

Maria - posted on 03/01/2010

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i think Julie Leeson has the better point of view ...the law is law but the most important side is the good atmosphere for the child. Husband and wife may be divorced, but they are always his family, he must not choose because he needs both!
The worst thing for a child is know to have a single parent because it's the law or worse because his parents want this!

Kathy - posted on 03/01/2010

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I have never been directly faced with this problem, my husband and I have been married 33 years, but I would say at least by 12 unless there are circumstances that show cause for that choice to be moved up. My best to you and your kids

Suzi - posted on 03/01/2010

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I have just been through a few months at the end of last year where my ex husband put ideas into my daughters head that she wanted to live with him so I went to my solicitor and she said there is no legal age limit in the UK but they usually will not let a child under 12 make the decision as they are deemed to young to make such a decision. Turned out it was my ex trying to get her to his address so he could get her to go to his old school in september when she goes to secondary school and my daughter was perfectly happy to continue with arrangements as they are so didnt have the hassle of court. Hope this all helps and good luck. x

Louise - posted on 03/01/2010

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I've just been through this with my 13yr old step daughter.. in the uk, your child can have a choice!!! if you were married, that gives both parents a legal right over the child, if you were not married and the other partner has not gone to court for legal responsibility then the main carer has the responsibility over the child... We have just had the court give my step daughter a support officer (cafcass) they are called to act apon her wishes, they have talked, interviewed and written a report on what is in her best interests!! this report will go back to court and the judge will award what they think is best.... It's been a few tough months and hopefully coming to the end, so really their is no legal age it's a legal matter!!

Denise - posted on 02/28/2010

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I think that depends on what state the child lives in..it varies from state to state.

Akilyn - posted on 02/28/2010

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I don't know legally what the age is in CA, but I don't think it should ever be the children's choice. Unless one parent is just a horrible loser, I don't think you should put a child into a position where they have to pick one parent over the other.

Michele - posted on 02/27/2010

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Julie you are dead on! Thank you for looking at this situation from more than one angle.

Michele - posted on 02/27/2010

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The child should NOT choose! The parents created the situation and dropping such a task on a child of any age is detrimental. The parents need to decide who can provide the environment that is closest to what you had as an intact family; the next step is to provide the child with unlimited access to the other parent. Giving the child a cell phone strictly for contacting the other parent, allowing weekend, holiday, days when school is out, and any other time that you both can find for the child to see the other parent is the best way to make the transition easier for everyone. Our son is 12 and this is what we came up with. This has worked beautifully for the past 10 months. The most important thing is to remember that the romantic relationship between the parents is over, but the relationship as parents must be as solid as ever. Our son has stated that he is glad that his mom and dad know how to act. That is the best testimony we could have asked for!

[deleted account]

In Alberta Canada it's 12. It depends on the province or state that you live in. But the courts don't just take the word of a child so there are usually other factors discussed not just what the child wants. It just means that the judge will talk to them in court and let the child talk about why they want to live with a certain parent and not the other one.

Ellen - posted on 02/26/2010

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regardless of the age you need to make sure the child does not want to live with the other parent because they think they can get away with more. You and your ex need to have the same rules and consequences and follow thru with that otherwise the child will want to move back and forth when they don't get their way. My boyfriends son tried this but we told him if he left he could not return then when he was 18 he did move back for a while but continued not following our rules and we had to make him leave now he is only allowed to stay occasionally and we stick with it. He can't come to our home on school nights after 10 pm so as not to disturb other kids and the weekends if he wants to stay sometimes we are flexible depending on our schedules but he is a party boy with no job and no motivation to move on with his life as far as I can see. He finally this semester is taking a couple classes we'll see if he can stick with it since he has not managed to keep a job for any length of time. Oh Well what can I say.

Monica - posted on 02/24/2010

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Hi There Shae, I think it is 12 years old depending on how mature your child is. Now this is what I have been told, your child can go before a magistrate & say where they want to live full-time, weekends or even week on week off meaning one week mum one week dad. I also think if it is too messy this way between mum & dad that your child can have their own solicitor. Hope I have helped

Julie - posted on 02/24/2010

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everyone has said it depends on the law. has anyone stopped to think about the child. if you and your husband have split you need to sit down and show a calm united fron t for the children and speak to them about the split. remind them that daddy left mommy not you or vise versa. reassure them that they are your still your number one priority and that you want them to be happy. tell them there is no right or wrong answer. if you choose to live with mum then daddy will still love you and you can see him as often as you like even staying over when you want. and the same if they stay with dad mummy will still love you and you can visit when ever you like and stay over when you want. stuff the law ask the child. i was 5 when a court person asked me and all i knew was i was frightened and wanted to go home. dont make your kids feel frightened or insecure. show a united front at all times dont bicker or argue in front of them and do not make it feel like they have to choose which parent they love most. seperation and divorce is cruel on kids try to help them adjust dont force anythign on them.

Veronica - posted on 02/24/2010

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I believe that it is 12 or 13 when the judge really takes their request into consideration. It would still depend on if the home they want to go to is suitable.

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