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Can my 14 and 15 year old children decide who to live with.

Hickory, NC |

My ex and I went to mediation and agreed to have joint custody,our agreement about school and living arrangements would not change until the kids reached 18 years old. They have no valid reason to go live with their dad. I hold them accountable for their actions and their dad doesn't. Do I have a chance if I fight this in court.

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Attorney answers 2


There is no magic age when children get to decide where to live. The best interest of the child is the standard.

The law regarding a child's 'right'* to choose is a matter for each State and jurisdiction. The judge in most States, not the child, makes the decision based on the best interest of the child. Although not a standard by any means, many States have begun to give 'consideration' to a child's declaration of custodial preference when the child reaches the age of twelve or thirteen, sometimes fourteen. There are even cases when children of age 9 are allowed to testify.

The judge is normally given almost unlimited latitude in whether or not she or he listens to a child and how much weight to give to the child's wishes. In short, there is no specific "age" but the younger the child the less likely for a judge to give the stated preference much weight.


Why did you agree to this schedule in mediation?

Our office schedules phone and office consultations to review cases concerning North Carolina legal issues. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship but is a response to a hypothetical scenario and should not be construed as legal advice.

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