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In South Dakota, at what age can a child choose which ...

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In South Dakota, at what age can a child choose which parent to live with as opposed to the court deciding?

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If a child has awarded one parent custody of the child, neither the child nor the parents may legally change the agreement without returning to court for a modification of custody. The parents may have agreements to allow the child to stay with the non-custodial parent, but the custodial parent may have their rights to the child enforced at any time.

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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jen Sterling's Post: That didn't really answer my question. At this point, there is no custody arrangement. What I wanted to know is in South Dakota, when a custody arrangement is being reviewed or determined by the what age would a child be able to tell a judge which parent they would like to be with and the judge would have to listen to the child barring any substantial evidence to suggest that the best interest of the child is not served by being placed with the parent they are requesting.
I apologize for not answering your question. South Dakota does not have a minimum age at which it takes the child's parental preference into consideration. This is largely determined by the court's assessment of the maturity of the child, and children as young as 8 or 9 have been given input as to which parent they would like to live with. Typically, the older the child, the stronger the bearing the court would place on the opinion. Ultimately, the decision is contingent on what is deemed to be in the child's best interest, as you have correctly stated.
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