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The purpose of the interview, as stated in the family code, is to allow the Court to discuss with the child:  (1) the child’s desires with regard to residency and primary conservatorship, (2) visitation, or (3) any other issues which are involved in the underlying custody suit. The answer is more complicated that a straightforward “yes” or “no.” In South Carolina, there is no exact age when a child may choose to live with one parent or the other. NO! If you find yourself in a modification suit where the Court will likely interview your child in this regard, you must conduct yourself very, very, carefully as the Court’s are very savvy and can see through situations in which a parent is manipulating or acting inappropriately in this regard. He tells her that the law states that she can choose, now that she is 12.There are many reasons that this is a bad idea but bottom line is, she does not want to. Finalising your financial separation sooner rather than later, Tips to reduce the emotional and legal costs of divorce and separation. The only exceptions to this that come to mine are: (1) if the father agrees to the entry of an order giving custody to the grandparents or (2) if the grandparents take the father to court and convince the court that the father is an unfit parent. Once a child reaches the age of 16, he/she is legally allowed to choose which parent to live with. Most fourteen year olds are mature enough to make good witnesses. ... Can younger children decide where they want to live? What if the other parent won’t return my child? In other word’s, the child’s reasons for their decision were not deemed mature and appropriate. The parent who is not selected by the child could still change that outcome if he or she can prove to the court that the selected parent would not be able to provide for the child or is otherwise not a choice that is in the child’s best interest. Another prominent legal myth is that a 16 years can decide with which parent they are going to live. Divorce and custody battles can be especially difficult on children. Courts may take the child’s preference into consideration when making an order on parenting time. Therefore, it is difficult to overcome a 14 year old … Can my child live with me if they want to? If not carefully monitored, this can be abused by parents as they relate to their children going forward after divorce or a final custody order has been rendered by the Court. Thankfully I got lucky and had a great lawyer & … In this regard the Court is assisted by a family consultant (generally. As for the 12-year-old, the issue of parenting time could not be resolved and was deferred to the court. Every child is different and every child grows and develops at their own pace. A child need not be at this magic number, but generally it is a good number. When your child turns 12, can they decide which parent to live with? The Court will still consider the evidence in the case – such as the opinions of the Child’s therapist or counselor, teachers, friends and neighbors and other family members along with many, many other factors. A child cannot legally “decide” which parent to live with; as seen above, there are numerous other factors to consider, and in many cases, the family law courts will make a decision based on what they believe to be in the best interest of the child. He is a skilled negotiator and strategist and fights zealously for his clients family law rights. Can a 16-year-old decide which parent he wants to live with? If an older child such as a 15, 16 or 17 year-old has a preference and that opinion is expressed to the Judge, Court Investigator or Guardian ad Litem than the judge will usually respect the child’s desire. In the recent past, there was a provision in the law that any child 12 years of age or older could sign a form known as a “designation of preference” to live with the parent named in the designation. If the parents are in agreement on primary conservatorship, an interview with the Child is not allowed. It is commonly misunderstood in Texas that a Child 12 years of age or older can “decide” with which parent they want to live. What about debts incurred post-separation? It happens too much now as it is. When the Child is Younger than 12. Be prepared to present your entire case and convince the court, despite the child’s preference or including the child’s preference, the best interest of the child is to remain with your or begin living with the other parent. Mothers and Fathers rights to see their child, Suite 34, Aspley Hypermarket, Albany Creek Road, Aspley, Brisbane, Westfield CHERMSIDE Level 2, Gympie Rd, Chermside QLD 4032, 30 Chancellor Village Boulevard Sippy Downs Queensland 4556, Toowong Tower, Level 5/9 Sherwood Rd, Toowong QLD 4066. best to discuss your matter with a solicitor to receive legal advice specific to your circumstances. My 12 year old daughter's father, who has visitation but not custody, is pressuring her to live with he and his family. Instead, the Texas Legislature left in the law a provision which allows the Court to conduct an interview with the child to determine that child’s wishes. But, their choice does not mean a change in residence is imminent. There is a common misconception that in Family Law parenting disputes about with whom a child will live, a child will have the deciding vote when they reach the age of 12. This question potentially comes with the most ‘lawyer’ answer you will receive: it depends. If you are someone you know are facing a situation involving child custody, contact the Evans Family Law Group today at (512) 628-2550 or email Mr. Evans directly at jimmy@evansflg.com. © 2021 Evans Law Group. The court will then weigh other factors and make a decision. Court Orders. Divorce Divorced Parents: Kids Should Decide Where They Live/Custody Divorce can be ugly, but it doesn't have to be ugly for the kids. The short answer is that children can make their own decisions about where they will reside once they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in Canada. Although the legislation does not define a minimum age, there are numerous reported case law that implies that a child’s wishes should “definitely be considered” at 12 years old according to Albers v Albers, 2011 ABQB 456. Split Custody Schedules. Rather, the question for determination is: what weight will the court give to your child’s wishes? You should thoroughly discuss this with your attorney and carefully set forth a strategy for conducting yourself and in the presence of the Child prior to the interview occurring. How are loans and gifts considered in family law? Are assets received post family law separation included in the property settlement? If you’re having a hard time viewing your child's request objectively, talk with a friend or counselor about how you can separate your child’s request from your identity as a parent. The courts will still consider the best interests of the child before making any modifications. It can be heartbreaking to hear your teen say they want to live with their other parent. For legal counsel to help do what’s best for your children, for you, and for your family as a whole, contact Evans Law Group in Austin today. Can a 12-Year-Old Child Decide Which Parent to Live With? Understanding Divorce Costs: a Quick Guide, POPULAR NOW: Child Custody for This School Year, Client’s First Meeting With An Austin Child Custody Attorney, James Evans: Austin Divorce Attorney & Family Attorney. Your child's request to live with your ex doesn’t have to be seen as a negative evaluation of who you are as a person or a parent. Can a 15 year old choose which parent to live with? Despite this, your child’s wishes can be considered by the court no matter how old they are. If your child is expressing a wish for different parenting arrangements it is best to discuss your matter with a solicitor to receive legal advice specific to your circumstances. Many children and parents often wonder at what age a child can decide their own custody/ living arrangements.. Tips on negotiating a financial settlement. ... Can younger children decide where they want to live? The age at which your child can decide who they live with, who they spend time with and how much time they spend with that parent (if any) is dependent on a number of factors. As for the 12-year-old, the issue of parenting time could not be resolved and was deferred to the court. Posted Nov 02, 2012 The court is always required to consider the entirety of the circumstances, what circumstances have changed since the rendition of the prior order of the Court, and whether or not in the opinion not the Court that the Child’s desires are in fact in the best interest of that Child. Generally if a child is over the age of 12 and is thought to understand the situation, their wishes can influence the outcome. However, children under 18 cannot unilaterally pick the parent that they want to live with. As a result, a child custody agreement can require modification based on a child’s desire to live with one parent over the other. Questions regarding if a child or teenager can decide which parent to live with. They appear to be uniformly surprised to learn that a minor child does not have the legal right to decide which parent to live with. Parents of divorced or separated parents often want to know when their children can decide where they want to live. The Child's Preference in Custody Cases. Can a binding financial agreement be overturned? Judges consider a number of factors before changing a custody order. This DID NOT mean that they could choose which parent they wanted to live with. An attorney can submit details of the child’s wishes as a motion to the court. Children are not able to simply choose which parent they want to live with under North Carolina law. A child’s desire in which parent to reside is one of many factors the Court will consider. No. What do you have to tell the otherside in a family law matter? This magical age is usually believed to be 12, 13, or 14. The age at which your child can decide who they live with, who they spend time with and how much time they spend with that parent (if any) is dependent on a number of factors. The Family Code provides that the court shall interview in chambers a child 12 years of age or older to determine the child’s wishes as to conservatorship or as to the person who shall have the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence. As a result, it is not accurate to say that when a child reaches 12 years old they will have the right to choose which parent to live with. In other circumstances a 13 or 14 year old’s wishes may be given significant weight if they are expressed in a well thought out and mature manner. The age at which your child can decide where they live and how much time they spend with the other parent is subjective, meaning it will vary from child to child. There could be many issues affecting this – age, school, travel for visitation, location of the other parent, extra-curricular or other options available to the child with the other parent. Contrary to popular belief, there is no golden age at which a child’s views will be determinative. That would be terribly unfair to ask a child. If so, what if the parent that child chooses is - Answered by a verified Family Lawyer Can I negotiate my own property settlement? Learn more here. I have personally been in situations where all the way up to the interview the child was expressing her desire to live with my client and changed her mind on the day of the interview. In most instances, South Carolina is not going to allow children under the age of 12 to voice their preference about which parent they would like to live with. Our Austin Child Custody Attorneys are experienced in child custody suits and modification suits affecting child custody. Most courts will see the child too young to make the decision. The court may, but is not required to allow the attorneys for the parties, if there is an attorney representing the child (amicus attorney or attorney ad litem), or the child’s guardian to be present during the interview with the Child. Many states have started to consider a child’s stated preference for the parent with whom the child wishes to reside when the child reaches 12 or 13. In Arizona, there is simply no magic age at which a child gets to decide which parent they can live with when their parents divorce. Can Your 12-year-old Decide Which Parent to Live/Visit With? This form would be filed with the Court and become the basis for a suit to modify the previous custody order and seek a change in primary conservatorship. Child Support Agreements Binding vs Limited. The typical scenario is that a couple divorce when their children are younger and the custody is awarded to the mother. Despite this, your child’s wishes can be considered by the court no matter how old they are. If the child is 12 years old or older, the Court is required upon a request by any of the parties to the suit to make a record of the interview with the Child. There is no simple, straight answer that anyone can give you; and if someone has given you a flat age, they either do not understand the complexity of this issue or have decided not to share those complexities with you. All rights reserved. In fact, Arizona has no “magic age” at which the children can choose their own parenting time schedule. The test the Court applies when considering the opinions and wishes of your child is two fold: However the answer to the two-fold test is not a simple “yes” or “no” and is not a question of whether your child’s wishes will be considered or not. However, in 2009, the Texas legislature repealed this provision in the law due to many policy reasons – mostly the obvious of why having children sign off on such a form causes significant issues between the parties and their child or children. Therefore, if you are faced with a modification suit in which the child may be interviewed, you and your attorney should not rely solely upon the desires of the child. It is all too common that after a final decree of divorce or custody, that at some point in time a child starts expressing their clear desire to live with the other parent on a primary basis. This misunderstanding causes a lot of litigation and stress between parents and their children. Can your child’s particular health condition – impact your child custody arrangements? A judge may also take into account the child’s own wishes. That being said, a child’s wishes can be taken into consideration by a judge during a custody trial. The child’s “decision” or opinions are not, however, binding on the Court. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Texas family code accounts for a child’s opinion no matter the age. A judge may ask a child who is old enough (typically 12 to 14) which parent he or she prefers to live with the majority of the time. If an older child such as a 15, 16 or 17 year-old has a preference and that opinion is expressed to the Judge, Court Investigator or Guardian ad Litem than the judge will usually respect the child’s desire. I would ask all parents out there to think about how many major decisions a 12-year-old gets to make alone and have the decisions bind his/her parents. In effect, children can “choose” which parent to live with if all involved decision makers — that is, the significant adults in the child’s life — are in agreement about the child’s future living arrangements and that agreement meshes with the child’s own wishes. The old Texas statute stated that a child 12 years of age or older could file with the Court in writing the name of the parent who the child would choose to have the right to determine where they lived, subject to the approval of the court. Remember, the court is always required to consider the entirety of the circumstances, what circumstances have changed since the rendition of the prior order of the Court, and whether or not in the opinion not the Court that the Child’s desires are in fact in the best interest of that Child. There is no set age in Australia and it is a factor to be considered. This is not the case. What happens if a BFA isn’t done properly? This question potentially comes with the most ‘lawyer’ answer you will receive: it depends. There is no defined age in Alberta or in British Columbia at which children can choose where to live when their parents are separated. Child Recovery Orders. The court will apply a gradient to your child’s wishes and preferences and, depending on their age and level of maturity, your child’s decision may have a significant impact on the outcome of your legal proceedings, or it may be balanced against other factors outlined in the Family Law Act which the Court must give consideration to (including the importance of maintaining a significant relationship with both parents, and the need to protect the child from child abuse and family violence). For a child under 12 years of age, the interview is discretionary with the Court. ... Our 12 year old has on numerous occasions over the past 3 years said that she wants to live with me and not her mother. Age of your child ’ s desire in which parent with whom to live.... Any age take the child ’ s preference into consideration by a family law matter number! 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