Can my 13 year old grandson choose to live in Va with his grandmother if he doesn't want to live in SC with his mother?

Asked about 1 year ago - Big Stone Gap, VA

I have had my grandson here in Va with me for two years. He is doing really good in school and loves it here. His mother (my daughter) wants him to move back to SC. She gave me the authority to keep him here, but now she is pissed at me and wants to punish me by using him. Does he have the right to choose? I have made decisions for him for 2 years...what can I do to keep him here. He wants to continue going to school here and wants to stay here. At this age of 13, does he have that right and what do I do to keep him here.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. James Donald Garrett

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . There is no age in Virginia where a child gets to choose where to live. As long as he is under 18, that decision will be made for him. The statute on child custody does say that a judge "may" (key word) consider as a factor in determining the best interest of the child the preference of a "child of suitable age". There is no definition of what that suitable age is, but at 13 I think that would qualify.

    If your grandson has been living here in Virginia for the past two years, you may try to file a petition for custody here in Virginia. Under Virginia law, you should have standing as an interested party. With that said, the natural parents of a child, regardless of his age, are the preferred custodians. You have an uphill battle but it's not a frivolous pursuit.

    You are going to want to hire a child custody attorney in your area to help you. There are volumes of case law that need to be argued successfully for you to prevail.

    By responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and... more

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