What a difficult position your parents are putting you in. If your perceptions and decriptions are correct, neither of them should be trusted to raise you. You do not mention how old you are not, but the legal reality is that you do not get to choose where you will live is the age of majority. Is that 18 in your state? Have you been told that you will be required to testify, and that your parents will be present? This would not be allowed in many courts, but if this is what will happen in your case, here is what your testimony can be: 1) I don't think it is fair to make me choose where I will live; adults should make this decision based on my best interests and should not pressure me do that for them: 2) I want to have a positive and healthy relatiionship with each parent, free of any interference by the other parent; 3) I want my parents to show respect for my preferences and for the other parent, and the court should force them to learn how to do a better job in that regard; and 4) I want the war over me to stop, including placement for me in a foster home if my parents can't correct their harmful behavior and help me grow up properly. If it would make you less nervous, print this out and read it when you testify.
Best wishes for an outcome that truly serves your best interests and allows you to grow up free of these unfair burdens, and please remember to designate a best answer.
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
The easiest part of the question to answer is that the court must interview children four years of age and older (assuming the younger ages are mature enough to make a decision in the judge's opinion). Your preference is only 1 factor under the Child Custody Act which a court must consider when determining what is in your best interest when it comes to which parent you will live with. The older you are the more the court will consider your preference, but your preference alone will not be the determining factor. When a child is 16 or 17, the court will generally go along with the child's preference, unless there are compelling reasons not to honor the preference. Also, be aware that your preference as to which parent is confidential. The court is never to disclose what was said in chambers where he/she will interview you.
There are a number of other factors the court must consider when determining what is in your best interest. Whichever parent has the most factors in his/her favor is generally the parent to whom your care will be entrusted.
Neil M. Colman
Mr. Colman is licensed to practice law in Michigan. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Colman strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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