This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. 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. Should you finalise your financial separation sooner rather than later? ... Can younger children decide where they want to live? How long do I have to do a property settlement? ... An infant would not be able to provide testimony, and the testimony of a 6 year old may not be as relevant as the testimony of a 17 year old (who is still a minor until they turn 18). What are the best apps for separated parents? 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 is an opportunity which must be carefully considered and thought through, because we all know children can be fickle under these circumstances. when can children decide which parent to live with? But, their choice does not mean a change in residence is imminent. 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. Child Recovery Orders. 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. 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. The child’s “decision” or opinions are not, however, binding on the Court. A child’s preference can be most effective when both parents are equally “fit,” all living conditions for the child are relatively equal, and the child is fourteen (14) years of age or over. What Texas law provides, however, is a method by which a Child over 12 years of age may have their wishes, desires, or opinions known with regard to residency and primary conservatorship (i.e. Published March 24, 2015 . How much weight their preference is given by the judge is totally up to the judge. In other word’s, the child’s reasons for their decision were not deemed mature and appropriate. 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. Generally if a child is over the age of 12 and is thought to understand the situation, their wishes can influence the outcome. 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. Tips on negotiating a financial settlement. If mediation fails do I have to go to court? Can a twelve, (12), year old child decide which parent to reside with? This misunderstanding causes a lot of litigation and stress between parents and their children. This is not the case. 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. 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 laws vary from state to state as it relates to whether a child has a true right to choose which parent they want to live with. 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 my country, the law is, that at 12, the child's opinion has to be noted and listened to in divorce cases, but it should never be left to a child to choose between their parents. Questions regarding if a child or teenager can decide which parent to live with. 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