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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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my daughter wants to come live with me she is 16, she has had

Customer Question

my daughter wants to come live with me she is 16, she has had problems with her mother for years her mother is bipolar and makes her life miserable, some of the time, is there a chance she can come legally
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 4 years ago.

Hello there:


Thank you for your question. To rephrase, the question is to what extent a 16 year old child's wishes will be taken into consideration in a child custody matter. I will start by saying that, because the nuances of every case are different, you should not rely on this information as advice or apply it to a specific situation without a more thorough consultation with counsel.


There is no specific age at which a minor child can refuse to visit a parent or to limit their visitation. Child custody is determined based on the best interest of the child regardless of the minor child's age, so there is no age at which a minor child gets to choose where they reside; however, the preferences of the child will be taken into consideration and weighed based on their age and maturity. In practice, the court typically starts listening to the child's preference in earnest around age 13, and tends to defer to their preference by their 15th birthday. I have only seen the court not adhere to the wishes of a 16 year old once or twice (and those were exceptional cases) and I have seen the court not adhere to the wishes of a 15 year old perhaps a dozen times. A 13 year old who doesn't want to visit with a parent because "I dunno... it'd be kinda cool" will not and should not be taken seriously, but a 16 year old who can explain the importance of the proposed arrangement to their personal developmental and emotional needs will typically get to "choose". So it really depends on the kids and on the situation.


Let me know if further clarification is needed, and please keep in mind that the experts are not credited for unaccepted answers; even where every problem cannot be solved, my hope is that you can at least feel confident in your knowledge. Please remember to click accept once you are finished. Thank you.

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