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At 14 can a child choose which parent to live with or at least testify in court? (Arizona)

Mesa, AZ |

I live in Arizona with my fourteen year old daughter. She has tried numerous times to have a relationship with her father, but to no avail. She finally gave up, and now wants me to have full custody. Her father has remarried to a woman who is physically abusive so she wants him to have no parental rights as well. We have lived together for three years, and I have been trying to get full custody since she moved in. Her father wont meet with me so now im taking him to court. Is she able to decide which parent she wants to live with? Or can she at least testify and get her wishes heard?

Attorney Answers 4


I am not licensed in your jurisdiction. However, in most jurisdictions, the judge will look to the individual characteristics of the child to determine if they are mature enough to be able to weigh in on the custody decision.

With your daughter being 14, the chances are that the judge would like to speak with her to determine her maturity level and to determine what her wishes are.

I recommend that you contact a family law attorney in your jurisdiction to discuss this matter. They will help you navigate through the red tape of your state family law courts. Good luck!

This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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In Arizona the wishes of a child are only on aspect of the factors that the court considers.

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Contrary to popular opinion there is no established age in Arizona. I've found that the more mature, articulate and uncoached a child is, the more weight the child's wishes are given by the Court – although the Court prefers to avoid children testifying altogether and may use its own psychologist to find out, if possible.

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Most likely the Court would grant a child interview; as far as testifying in Court- Courts almost never allow this.

This answer is provided for general information only is not to be construed as legal advice. This response is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

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