what is the legal age for a child to choose between the parents who to stay with?

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In the US, it varies by state; in my state it is 14 years old.
That said, there are conditions. First, the judge will usually take the child's wishes into consideration at almost any age. While s/he may not actually assign full custody to the parent the child wants to say with, that parent will usually get increased or more flexible visitation rights. Second, even if the child is old enough to choose, if the child chooses a parent that is proven unfit or dangerous, the judge can still assign custody to the other parent. That doesn't happen often though, the parent the child wants to stay with would have to have pretty serious, provable problems for the judge to go against the child's wishes.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/30/2013

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Depends on where you live. In Wyoming, it's 13

Jayne - posted on 09/30/2013

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I think it is 16 not real sure. But I am a single mom and if the father is a good father I would let the kids decide that being older thank 8 years old as its best for the under 16s to be together and wouldnt separate the kids, but I would prefer that they have 1 week with there father and one with me.

Angela - posted on 09/30/2013

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I haven't a clue. In the UK it might be about 12 - but not sure. I'm British.

There are underhand ways though where the child and the other parent can circumvent the Law. My friend's ex made a bid for custody of their 8 year old daughter. The child wanted to go to him as she'd be an only child in that environment (grass is always greener!).

It got to Court and the judge ruled that she was returned to the mother. Dad and the kid had a crafty move lined up though. This 8 year old went to speak privately to the Judge in his chambers. She said that if she couldn't live with her Dad she'd keep running away from her mother's house. This threat meant that the child was in danger! So the Judge said although the mother had legal custody - this was the official ruling ON PAPER, and in the meantime, to save the child from being in danger, she should live with her father - but this could be reviewed anytime.

She was back home with mother by the time she was 13. Within a year of living with Dad, he decided to get married! This girl had never planned on sharing her Dad with anyone!

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