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Does New York allow a child to decide where they want to live when they get a certain age? If so, what age?

Hamburg, NY |

My daughter is seven and lives with her father. Her therapist here says that she needs to be with her mother, but the judge ruled against it. Can she decide where she wants to live when she gets older? If so, how old until she can?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. The older a child gets, the more the Court will listen to them, through their law guardian. In my experience, it is around when they turn 12 or 13 that the Court actually takes a listen to their desires.
    Some states legislate an actual age but not in NY.

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  2. NY law does not specify a specific age. The court will usually consider a child's level of maturity, which can vary on a case by case basis. Typically, courts will consider a child's wishes around the age of 12 or 13. Best of luck.

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


  3. It really depends on the maturity of the child. The child's preference can be taken into consideration at any age, but that is merely one factor the court will consider. The standard that the court applies is what is in the child's best interest.


  4. No set rule in NYS. Child will be appointed an attorney by the court to represent the child in a custody dispute, depending on the child's age.

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