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jusleen, Family Lawyer
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 942
Experience:  Qualified Family Solicitor practising family law since 1999. Member of resolution.
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At what age can a child in the UK legally decide which parent

Resolved Question:

At what age can a child in the UK legally decide which parent they wish to live with? I am particularly interested in the age where one parent cannot legally refuse the child's wishes.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  jusleen replied 7 years ago.
Hi normally a child of 13 years or older would be considered old enough to be able to vote on their feet provided their understanding is not below their age range. However just because the child is old enough to decide which parent he or she would wish to live with does not mean that the court would rubber stamp their choice. The court also needs to consider the capacity of the parent to provide for the child's needs, ability to promote contact with the other parent, siblings etc.

If you wish to provide some details specifically related to your question then I am happy to explain. Otherwise please click the accept button if the advice provided is sufficient.

Kind regards

jusleen and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi, thanks for the information.

My youngest son (aged 7), desperately wants to live with me full time (and see his mum at weekends) and I want this as well but my ex wife refuses to acknowledge his wishes and will not let him. I have tried to go through mediation with my ex but she refused to turn up and will not agree so I can see no way forward at present without a court battle. I knew that his age meant that he is too young to automatically (or as close as automatic as it could be) make the decision for himself but wanted to know how long we would have to wait before I could challenge her refusal. Unfortunately, I am not eligible for legal aid and my ex left me with a great deal of debts that mean I do not think I can afford the costs involved to fight this in court even though this is what I and he want and I firmly believe his lifestyle would be greatly improved if he lived with me. My daughter has already chosen and moved to live with me as she is already a teenager so my ex did not argue, but she refuses with Sam as she just says he is too young to make the decision and she does not want to let him go.

As I say, I do believe his lifestyle would be improved but at the same time he is not at risk living with her just not being nurtured and encouraged in the same way he would be living with us.