My son is currently living with his mother. He always talks about wanting to come live with me, his father. I know how much he despises his mother and I would love for him to come live with me but it's got to be his choice to want to go through the legal channels to do so. How old does he have to be to decide that?
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. 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.
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