how old does the child have to be in order to decide for him/ herself which parent they would like to have custody of them
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
There is no magic age when children get to decide where to live. 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. 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.
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