Does my Child Get to Choose Where He or She Lives?


Simply put, no. A minor child does not get to decide that they want to live with one parent over the other. Children’s opinions are one factor that is taken into consideration when a judge is determining a custody schedule; however, it is only one factor. Furthermore, the weight that the minor child’s preference is given varies based on age, maturity level, and the reason for wanting to live with one parent over the other. The weight given also depends on the particular judge hearing the case.

A judge may have a conversation with the minor child in Judge’s chambers to determine the rationale for the minor child’s wishes, or may also require the minor child to give live testimony in the courtroom. The judge may ask questions along the lines of, “Tell me about living at mom’s house” and “Tell me about living at dad’s house.” However, many judges will leave the child out of the courtroom completely.

Ultimately, where a minor child lives is based on the best interest of the child standard. After hearing all presented evidence, and potentially taking into account the wishes of the minor child, the judge will make a determination that is in the best interests of the minor child.

If you are seeking advice or representation regarding the custody of your minor child, please reach out to one of our skilled and experienced attorneys at Jetton & Meredith.