Age child can choose where he wants to live in illinois?

Asked about 4 years ago - Bloomington, IL

15 year-old male does not want to live with his mother. physical and mental abuse by both mother and son. 15 year-old wants to live with paternal grandmother who is fully capable to care for him. child has spent 50% of life with said grandmother. father lost visitation rights and does not have the means to take care for child. 15 year-old was recently arrested for assaulting his mother.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . There is no magic age when children get to decide where to live. The best interest of the child is the standard in Illinois. The judge, not the minor child, decides.

    The law regarding a child's 'right'* to choose is a matter for each State and jurisdiction. The judge in most States, not the child, makes the decision based on the best interest of the child. Although not a standard by any means, many States have begun to give 'consideration' to a child's declaration of custodial preference when the child reaches the age of twelve or thirteen, sometimes fourteen. There are even cases when children of age 9 are allowed to testify.

    The judge is normally given almost unlimited latitude in whether or not she or he listens to a child and how much weight to give to the child's wishes. In short, there is no specific "age" but the younger the child the less likely for a judge to give the stated preference much weight.

    Good luck to you.

  2. David Matthew Gotzh


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . The Guru's correct, the child's input is a small factor, but unless something bizarre is going on, the court generally gives it little weight. Several leading cases in Illinois reinforce this rule. The final decision will always be the best interest of the child.

    If you're serious about fixing this problem, you'll need to talk to a lawyer.

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