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In Michigan does a 13 yr old have the right to choose to stay with one parent or the other?

Ann Arbor, MI |
Attorney answers 4


Practicality begins to outweigh legality when kids reach their teens. No matter what the Court orders say, the child gains more and more effective power as he or she grows. A parent may not attempt to convince a child not to spend time with another parent, but if the child refuses, at that age, it becomes more of a practical issue. Good Luck.


No. It is the parents' responsibility to enforce parenting time. If there is a legitimate reason that a kid wants to stay with one parent over another and there is a change of parenting time/custody motion, it is possible that a court could interview the child regarding his/her preference, but it is only one of 12 factors a court looks at with regard to custody.


There are 12 "best interest" factors a court considers in determining custody and one of them is the child's reasonable preference. The preference must be "reasonable" and it is only one factor. Children do not get to decide which parent to live with.

Also, if there is an existing custody order, you must demonstrate a "proper cause" or "change of circumstance" to even get to a best interest hearing. A child's desire to change residences is not grounds for a custody hearing.

Having said all that, I recommend you consult with a local family law attorney about all the facts and details of your specific situation. That way, you will receive far more complete legal advice and understand the options available to you. I wish you all the best.

This comment is designed for general information only, and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


The first step in deciding if custody should change is whether there is a proper change in circumstances or good cause. If the court finds that one or the other exists, it will then look at the best interests of the child.

There are 12 factors that are considered in determining the best interests of the child. One of the twelve factors is the reasonable preference of the child, if they are of a sufficient age and maturity to express it. At the age of 13, it is likely that the child will be interviewed as to their preference. However, the child's choice is not controlling. Rather, it is only one of twelve factors.

Attorney is providing only general advice through this answer, and is not entering into an attorney-client relationship with the questioner, until specifically retained by the agreement of both parties.