Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
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I certainly understand the situation your grandchild is going through. In child custody cases, the child, at 16 years of age, does have a right to decide which parent they want to live with. However, the final decision is always with the Judge, who will basis the decision on the best interest of the child. Since the mother currently has custody of the child, you or the Aunt, would first need to petition the court to gain custody of her, for her to be able to speak with the Judge and advise him/her, to the fact that she wants to live with you and what the reasons are. Even though this is not an issue with custody and the parents and involves the mother and another family member, the Judge will still consider her age of 16 and decision, when deciding. Everything you stated above would be something for the Judge to consider but the mother can certainly object and oppose the change of custody. If the mother contests this and will not agree, you and her aunt, as well as the child would all have to present mitigating factors, to show that it is in her best interest to live with you. At the same time, the Judge will certainly listen and respect the rights and wishes of the mother, before taking her rights to the child, away. The child's decision is only one of many factors for the court to consider and it will carry weight with the Judge but it is not going to be the only thing which the court relys on, in making the decision.
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