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How old does a child in ny have to be to decide the parent they want to live with

Lockport, NY |

my daughter will be 14 in october and wants to move in with me. will the legal system listen to her and do I have a chance in court of doing this?

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Attorney answers 3


The person must be an adult. We don’t let kids make such decisions (to decide the parent they want to live with). The judge will decide. Kids can, however, make their wishes known to the court in the right kind of case. Usually an attorney will work with the child(ren) and convey important issues and ideas to the judge. Kids can in the right kind of case also meet and talk with the judge — directly — without having to go on the witness stand, testify, or be subject to cross examination. This needs good lawyering to happen so lawyer up quick!


If you petition for custody of your daughter, the Court will appoint an attorney for the child who will advocate for her wishes. The child's preference is one of many factors the Court will consider in determining what is best for her, but the older the child, the more weight the Court will give to the child's position. You should retain an attorney in order to maximize your chances of gaining custody.


I certainly agree with the above comments of the other two attorneys. As a child gets older, the Court is more willing to listen to their desires and weigh that factor more when it comes to changing a custody arrangement. Other important factors to consider, which a Judge and/or attorney for the child will likely look into, are: what are the child's reasons for wanting to move in with the other parent? How far away does the other parent live in relation to the custodial parent? Will the child need to change school districts? Does the child have other siblings that live with them now?

If your daughter would not be changing school districts if she came and lived with you, obviously that would make her transition easier. However, just because she would need to change school districts does not bar a change in custody. These are just questions that judges and the attorney for the child will delve into when determining what is in the best interest of your daughter.

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