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What is the legal age for a child to determine legal custody between parents in wood county ohio?

Bowling Green, OH |

my daughter is 12 years old and she has been living with her mom for nearly 11 years but i have had her for every weekend and pretty much anytime of my choosing. the relationship between myself and the mother is ok but when it comes to finances it gets messy. i am paying child support and i am current but i will be losing my job of 12 years at the end of the month. i live within 6 blocks from my daughter and we have been close throughout her life. i believe i can go to court and at least get joint custody but i want some details on what i can do.

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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.

Good luck to you.

NOTE: This answer is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed WI professional attorney that practices in the subject practice discipline and with whom you have an atttorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.


In Ohio, there is no age the child gets to decide. One of the factors the judge gets to consider is the child's preference. This is typically done by the judge talking to the child alone in the judge's office.

If you go back to court and get shared parenting, that will not automatically change anything regarding your child support. If you need to modify your child support due to job loss, you need to talk to the CSEA worker on your case to do an administrative review of your support order. With your job loss, it is likley that your child support order would be reduced but that is not always a guarantee as you need to look at what the old support order entailed.

Your best option would be to discuss the matter with an attorney who can look over your current court order and child support guidelines and determine how the changes over time have affected you position and where changes would be most likely.