Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. A minor child never has the right to decide which parent they want to live with. However, the Judge can certainly listen to their requests and use it when deciding, on how to rule. Ohio law does not specify an age at which a child may choose his or her own living arrangements. Rather, the court looks at the custody issue on a case-by-case basis, and custody determination is based on a number of factors, including:* the wishes of the child’s parents; * the wishes of the child; * the child’s relationship with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest; * the child’s adjustment to home, school and community; * the mental and physical health of all those involved; * the parents’ likelihood of honoring and facilitating court-approved parenting time rights or visitation
and companionship rights; * failure of either parent to make any past child support
payments; * either parent’s previous conviction or guilty plea for a criminal offense involving an abused or neglected child or domestic violence
, or evidence that either parent has acted in a way that resulted in a child’s abuse or neglect;* denial by either parent of the other parent’s right to parenting time;* either parent’s establishment of a residence, or a plan to move, outside the state. A parent may ask the court to interview the child to find out the child’s preference, and the court will conduct an in-chambers interview. The interview is not done in open court, but rather, in the judge’s or magistrate’s chambers. The child meets with the judge or magistrate and other court personnel as appropriate, but the child’s parents are not present at the meeting. The court, in its discretion, may, and upon the motion of either parent, will appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. The court (judge or magistrate) will first determine the reasoning ability of the child. If the court determines the child does not have sufficient reasoning ability, then the child will not be asked his or her wishes with regard to custody. If the court decides the child does have sufficient reasoning ability, the court must then decide if there are any special circumstances that would suggest the child’s wishes should not be considered. Assuming the child has sufficient reasoning ability and there are no special circumstances, the court will then ask the child about his or her own wishes regarding custody.