At what age does a child have a right to choose which parent they want to live with

Asked over 4 years ago - Cherry Valley, NY

my wife and i are getting a divorce my daughter is 14 does she have a right to choose which parent she wants to live with.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Gerry M. Wendrovsky

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . Generally, where there is a custody dispute concerning a child 14 years of age or older, the court will appoint a 'law guardian', who will speak with the child, obtain his or her opinion and express that opinion to the court at a designated time. That preference will be a factor considered by the court in determining custody.

  2. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . There is no magic age when children get to decide custody. The best interest of the child is the standard.

    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.

    NOTE: This answer is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding.

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