Frequently Asked Questions
rechel & associates, p.a.
At what age can my child decide which parent to live with?
The question often arises during a divorce “at what age can a child decide which parent to live with?” Theodore Rechel of Rechel & Associates in Tampa, Florida answers this question.
A popular misconception is that at the age of 12 the child can decide where to reside, but nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that at the age of 18 is when a child can decide with which parent to reside, but before that, the child can express a reasonable preference, but that preference will have varying degrees of persuasiveness with the court. For example, a very young child will normally be determined to not be able to express a reasonable preference to the court. A child in the middle ages, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, may be able to express a reasonable preference and the court will consider it and has to consider it, but it will not be overwhelmingly persuasive. A teenager who is able to express a reasonable preference will have that preference considered greatly by the court. Then, at the age of 18 is when the child can definitely say, “I want to reside with mom or dad” and the court will most likely go with that preference, as long as it’s reasonable.
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