Thank you for your question.
Minneasota has no specific age where a child can make the decision as to whom they wish to live with. The law only provides that a child who is able to express a preference can do so regardless of their age. However, when the child is in their teens, such as yours their stated preference is given more weight than a child younger than ten.
Below are the factors considered in modification requests. Further, the court must review all reasons for the change in custody not just a child's wishes.
Further discussion can be review here.
Minnesota Laws on Best Interest of the Child.
Minnesota laws assign custody based on the "best interests of the child," meaning all relevant factors to be considered and evaluated by the court including:
1. The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody;
2. The reasonable preference of the child as to custody, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;
3. The child's primary caretaker;
4. The intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child;
5. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with a parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
6. The child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
7. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
8. The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home;
9. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved; except that a disability of a proposed custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child, unless the proposed custody arrangement is not in the best interest of the child;
10. The capacity and disposition of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue educating and raising the child in the child's culture and religion or creed, if any;
11. The child's cultural background;
12. The effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse that has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual, whether or not the individual alleged to have committed domestic abuse is or ever was a family or household member of the parent; and
13. The disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child.
The court may not use one factor to the exclusion of all others in determining custody of a child. Minnesota laws do not allow the court to consider conduct of a proposed custodian that does not affect the custodian's relationship to the child.
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