At What Age Can A Child Tell His Divorced Parents Where He Wants to Live?

A large part of my practice is spent handling complex disputes between parents over the custodial arrangements for their children. There is a common misconception that once a child reaches a certain age they can simply tell the court where they want to live and the arrangements will be made accordingly. This is never the case.

Child custody is governed by state law. The law states that a court must determine the custody of a child based on what is in the child’s “best interest.” The “best interest” of a child is defined as twelve factors that a court must analyze and rule upon in making a determination. The “reasonable preference” of the child is but one of those twelve factors.

It is very difficult to change a custodial arrangement once it has been established, even if your teen or pre-teen son or daughter wants his or her living arrangements to change.   If you have questions regarding the custody of your children you should seek the advice of an attorney experienced in child custody matters.