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How old does a child need to be before he can decide which parent he wants to live with?

Columbus, NE |

My boyfriend and his child's mother have been fighting lately. The child wants to live with his father and myself. We feel that the mother is unfit. We suspect her of using drugs, and she has medical problems which leave her unable to watch him properly. He is almost 6 years old.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. The father needs to file for a modification of the custody order. The court would then take his concerns into effect to look at modification of the custody order. A six year old in likely not going to have much effect on the decision.

    Most lawyers will give you a free consultation if you ask for one. We do this all the time, but remember that our time is valuable and you should stay with the people who help you the most.


  2. It sounds like you may not yet have a custody order yet. If so, you would need to start with an original paternity action to get custody squared away to determine what is the best interests of the child. 6 years is probably too young for the child to have a say in where he wants to live. However, if there is a therapist or other expert who has worked with the child, that person may be able to help give an opinion of what might be in the child's best interest.

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