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Attorney & Mediator
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Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney & Certified Mediator
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How old does a child have to be to choose which divorced ...

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How old does a child have to be to choose which divorced parent to live with?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 9 years ago.
There is no law which gives a child the decision to decide which parent they wish to live with. A child does not have the legal capacity to make adult decisions. Only the adults or the judge can make such a decision. A child in his teenage years (starting at 12 years) is allowed to state preference to the court, but it is only used as a guide. The judge makes the decision based on the circumstances of each particular case and who can meet the child's best interests. Only when there is a substantial change in the child's environment which is affecting the child's best interests will the court decide to change custody over to the other parent. A substantial change is any environment which is exposing the child to a potential risk of abuse or neglect.

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