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Does anyone know if there is a law that a child that is 12 can chose to stay with one parent all the time and if so what website can i find this on?

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Asked by supermon at 5:19 PM on Jan. 20, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

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Answers (9)
  • Child custody laws vary from state to state, and yes in California a 12 year old has some say in where he/she lives. They do not get the final decision, however the judge does take their wants into consideration when deciding what will happen, and the older they get the more weight it holds with the judge as far as what they want.

    Sorry, i don't know a website that you can look at, but you can go to your local courthouse and I am sure they will direct you to some reading material that will help you out.

    Answer by CarolynBarnett at 5:28 PM on Jan. 20, 2009

  • In Virginia, they give a 13 year old the right to express a preference for who they want to live with if the parents are not together. BUT - if the court decides that it would be not in the child's interests to stay there, the court doesn't have to give in to the child's desire.  A child doesn't have the exclusive right to live where they want to until the age of 16 ... when they can petition the court to become an emancipated minor (not that they have to be emancipated in order to live with a specific parent).


    Answer by cat0325 at 5:33 PM on Jan. 20, 2009

  • Can a 13 year old make the decision whether or not to see a parent at all? Like can they choose to live with mom only and not have ANY visitation with dad while still collecting child support?

    Answer by ReneeK3 at 6:29 PM on Jan. 20, 2009

  • They won't let a child decide, I don't think they do that anywhere. It's a popular belief for some reason that the kids can chose where they want to live but it doesn't work that way. The child can say who they want to live with, and the judge will take it into consideration, but if the other parent is safe, and capable of taking care of the child they won't exclude that parent.  There is no way a court would leave that kind of a decision up to a child, kids are too easy to sway, they will say things they think other people want to hear, and they will say things because they don't want to hurt one parent or the other.


    Answer by MomOfJandM at 8:11 PM on Jan. 20, 2009

  • MomOfJandM....I just want to say, that when I was 14 years old my parents divorced, and I wrote a letter to the judge expressing my feelings about my mother, and how I did not want to see her at all. In turn, the judge gave my mother no parental rights to me at all, and my little sister (5 years younger - whole blood sister) had to go to her house every weekend for visitations.


    Answer by CarolynBarnett at 9:28 PM on Jan. 20, 2009

  • Here in California a 12 year old can express where they want to live. IT IS NOT A LAW, it is simply an age where the courts will take the childs want into consideration. Granted they will not let the 12 yr. old go live with the parent that doesn't care about their schooling or well being, but they will take into consideration where the child will feel comfortable and blossom.

    Answer by Gigi1969 at 2:45 AM on Jan. 21, 2009

  • At your child's age they will take her feelings into account as to where she wants to live, but as far as visitation it really varies state to state and judge to judge. Often the non-custodial parent will claim you are filling the child's head with lies about them causing harm to the relationship and that is why the child no longer wants to see them. It is the job of the court to ensure that the child maintains as normal a relationship as possible with both parents as long as it is a safe and healthy relationship (ie no abuse has happened). If its just she doesn't like his rules or a new step mom she's going to be out of luck on this one and if you don't make her go you could be found in contempt of a court order.

    Answer by xmasbaby73 at 5:10 PM on Jan. 21, 2009

  • CarolynBarnett: Apparently the judge took your feelings into "consideration". Just because a child expresses their feelings, doesn't make it a law. The judge didn't have to take your mothers parental rights away BY LAW. He took them away, because he took your feelings into consideration. By Law, if a persons parental rights are revoked, it's because they have been proven to be an unfit parent. If she was proven to be unfit, your sister wouldn't have been sent to her either. So, your feelings were put into the consideration of the judge and in his personal opinion you were better off without her. But it wasn't a Law that got you away from her...



    Answer by MomOfJandM at 5:26 PM on Jan. 21, 2009

  • Link to "Family Law Legal Myths" Tells how the child's opinion is taken into consideration, but a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed to speak with the child first, to make sure it's what they really want, and help determine what's best for the child.


    Answer by MomOfJandM at 5:32 PM on Jan. 21, 2009

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