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In the event of a divorce, how old do children have to be in order to decide who they want to live with in NJ???

Woodbridge, NJ |


Attorney Answers 4


I would need more information before I could provide you with a proper response. I suggest that you speak with a local attorney as soon as possible.

If you found this Answer helpful, please mark it as "Best Answer". Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Peter J. Lamont, Esq. Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont 623 Lafayette Avenue, Suite 2, Hawthorne, NJ 07506 Phone: (973) 949-3770 Fax: (866) 603-0471 Toll Free: (855) NJLAW01 (855) 655-2901 Additional Offices in New York, Monument, CO, San Juan, PR and affiliates throughout the country. PLEASE NOTE: The above statements are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained on this site without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

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The Court is required to consider all intelligent statements of preference that are made by a child. The court rules provide that as part of a custody hearing, the court must interview a child if age seven or older as to his (meaning his or her) preference for custody. The New Jersey Court has held that a 12-year old child has not attained that ripened discretion which enables him to determine conclusively what his own welfare demands. Callen v. Gill, 7 N.J. 312 (1951). Accordingly, up until the age of 12 years old, a child's preference is not conclusive, but the child's intelligent statements of preference would be one factor that is taken into consideration by the Court. You should discuss the matter in detail with a family law attorney. Kindly consider marking this answer as BEST if appropriate. Good luck to you.

IMPORTANT: Mr. Murray's response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. You should NOT rely on this response. Mr. Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during an attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private attorney-client consultation. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state (or, in the case of immigration law, an attorney in ANY state), whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted by Mr. Murray on are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual. For persons located in New Jersey: To the extent that Mr. Murray's profile can be considered an advertisement in New Jersey, which is denied, be advised that NO ASPECT OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY. Furthermore, the selection methodology for the SuperLawyers' "Rising Stars" awards is set forth at length at this website:

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There is no set age at which time a child's preference will be determinative of the issue. It is the "best interests" of the child that the court must ultimately decide when determining issues of custody and parenting time.

In reality, the older a child is the more influence the child's preference will have on the ultimate outcome.

If you wish to secure a more reliable opinion you should schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney in your area who can take the time to review with you all the relevant facts and circumstances.

Kenneth A. White, Esq.

The Answer provided was based on the limited information provided, and represents information based on the law in general, not a legal opinion that can be relied upon. Before a formal legal opinion can be offered I would need an opportunity to review all possible relevant facts and circumstances. You cannot rely on the advice of an attorney given over the internet. The exact facts of your sitaution, including facts which you have not mentioned in your question, may completely change the opinion that is being offered. Please be aware that the above comments are neither protected by attorney-client privilege, nor may the same be the basis for a malpractice lawsuit.

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This question is as complicated as are children, and does not lend itself to an easy answer. The standard for determining who a child lives with is "best interst of the child". That is very subjective. The statue and case law provides for numerous determining factors and while the wishes of the child will be taken into consideration, and of course the older the child the more they will be considered, they are not determinative.

Generally, children that are older than about 12 could have an opinion taken into consideration if you are in a custody dispute. However, more often, some form a shared parenting arrangment is considered to be best for children. Depending upon the distance between the residences, it is usually better to have a plan that provides the children with substantial time at both residences. Depending upon the ages of the children and the familiy dynamic, on a practical level it may be hard to have your children chose between their parents.

On the other hand, there may be reasons why one parent is not a fit caregiver and that changes the way the case would be handled. If the parents are going to reside far apart,then during the school year, one or the other parent will need to be the primary parent. This is a complicated decision and if you are planning to divorce, or are already split up, you should consult with a family lawyer to determine what your options are and how to arrange for your children to spend time with both parents without making them chose between the two, or engaging in a lengthy and emotionally draining custody battle.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Review of this answer does not in any way constitute legal representation,

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