DearCustomer- You must go through the court regardless of age since the child custody is an order of the court. The court will generally listen to the wishes of the child however the court makes the final determination based on the best interests of the child. The older the child the more weight their testimony has but the court reserves the right to make the final decision.
If the child is 12 or older the testimony of the child will generally be accepted but there are no guarantees and certainly no change of custody without going to court.
David Kennett - JD - Attorney at Law
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).