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In the state of Illinois, what is the age that a child may choose which parent they prefer to live with?

Aledo, IL |

A 12 year old girl currently living with her Mother wants to stay with her Mother in the event the Father wants to try to take them away.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Is there a court order giving him custody or visitation rights.
If not, he has zero rights to take her.
If there is a court order, he can petition for change of custody.
The judge will then take into account everything, including her wishes, in deciding custody and visitation.

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4 comments

Alan James Brinkmeier

Alan James Brinkmeier

Posted

I am unaware of a case that permits a 12 year old to testify unless extreme circumstances exist. Do you know a recent appellate case on this?

Ray Choudhry

Ray Choudhry

Posted

In our area, Western Illinois, I have never seen a case where if one of the parties requested the judge to interview the child in chambers that he did not. Only the child, counsel for the parties and court reporter are present. Taken from the Illinois Compiled Statutes: Sec. 602. Best Interest of Child. (a) The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including: (1) the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his custody; (2) the wishes of the child as to his custodian; (3) the interaction and interrelationship of the... (4) .... child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest;

Ray Choudhry

Ray Choudhry

Posted

From my experience, judges will interview children even as young as 5 or 6. The Statute Provides: (750 ILCS 5/604) (from Ch. 40, par. 604) Sec. 604. Interviews.) (a) The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child's wishes as to his custodian and as to visitation. Counsel shall be present at the interview unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties. The court shall cause a court reporter to be present who shall make a complete record of the interview instantaneously to be part of the record in the case.

Elleni Kalouris

Elleni Kalouris

Posted

I too have seen the same thing. It is one factor, not a controlling one.

Posted

If there is no custody order or agreement the Father cannot take the child. However, if you are trying to determine visitation and are in the middle of court proceedings a Judge will take a 12 year old's opinion into consideration.

This answer is for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or constitute attorney advertising.

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6 comments

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

no the judge will not. take a 12 year olds opinion into consideration. Many judges will not even do an in camera.

Elleni Kalouris

Elleni Kalouris

Posted

That is simply not true. A judge may take a 12 year old child's opinion into consideration if several factors are met, primarily the judge deems the 12 year old to be mature and responsible. It is up to the judge to make that decision.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

No in Illinois the age is 18 when they have a say in where they want to live.

Elleni Kalouris

Elleni Kalouris

Posted

Of course at the age of 18 the child is no longer a child and as a legal adult they have full say in where they live, however a judge can (but is not required to) take the opinion of minor children into consideration

Elleni Kalouris

Elleni Kalouris

Posted

Please note the above comment where the statute is cited showing a child's opinion counts.

Elleni Kalouris

Elleni Kalouris

Posted

Taken from the Illinois Compiled Statutes: Sec. 602. Best Interest of Child. (a) The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including: (1) the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his custody; (2) the wishes of the child as to his custodian;

Posted

I disagree partially, simply due to the fact that we do not have enough information about the parents. Are the parents married and simply living apart? If so the father has the same rights as the mother, if there is not a court order stating otherwise. Same as if the father has previously found to be the legal father and there is no court order giving custody to the mother. To answer your question though, there is not a magically age in which the child can decide who to live with. At age 14, the judge will take their desires into consideration, along with the other factors in determining what is in the best interest of the child.

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Posted

A12 year old cannot make this decision.

Should the father attempt to gain custody the judge will decide based on a best interest of child standard.

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Posted

the answer to the question is age 18. if dad wants the child, he must file a petition to get custody. the burden may be different if the parents were never married or if married and then divorced. if there is an existing custody order favoring mom, then dad must show a substantial change in circumstances.

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