Can My Children Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With?

mother and teenage son

When creating a child custody agreement, the phrase “the best needs of the child” is one that you will often consult. However, when considering your child’s best interests, you will soon learn that your child cannot guide you and your spouse through their desires when building their custody plan; instead, you must create decisions without them. What if you want to give your child a say in their custody plan? In some instances, your child may be able to express a preference to the court.

It Depends on Your Child’s Age

While your child cannot explicitly choose which parent they wish to live with, they do have the opportunity to express their preference to the court if they are over the age of 14. The preference alone will not determine which parent will gain majority or full time-sharing of the child; however, it can be included in the circumstances considered when the court determines if the proposed custody plan is in the child’s best interests.

If your child is younger than 14, they cannot express their wishes to the court and instead must wait until they turn the age of 14. Until then, their custody is determined solely through the court’s standard of “the child’s best interests” until they reach their fourteenth birthday. Your child’s wishes may later be heard if you or your spouse pursues a child custody modification after your child’s fourteenth birthday.

Testa & Pagnanelli, LLC Child Custody Attorneys

When creating or modifying a child custody agreement, you may want to ensure that it suits your family’s needs and your child’s desires. If your child is over the age of 14, our child custody attorneys can help your family protect your child’s right to express their preference for custody. At Testa & Pagnanelli, LLC, your family comes first, and our top priority is to create a plan that addresses all of your family’s needs.

Are you creating a child custody agreement and want to make sure your child’s input is heard? Schedule a consultation with our child custody attorneys today by calling (610) 365-4733 to learn more about how we can advocate for your family’s best interests.

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