At what age can a child decide which parent they want to live with?

UPDATED: Aug 28, 2012

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At what age can a child decide which parent they want to live with?

My soon-to-be ex-husband wants it written in the divorce papers that our daughter can choose who she wants to live with when she 10 years old. I do not agree with this at all, and do not want it in the papers. If he takes me to court on this, how will the judge decide? And what age do utah courts give the child that much responsibilty? My husband and I have decided that I am going to be the custodal parent, also and he lives in another state and is in the military.

Asked on August 28, 2012 under Family Law, Utah


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I can surely understand how you seel.  But the Utah Courts - and in general many states - do not specifically state at which age a child can and can not give their opinion or requests to the court.  The ultimate decision is not, however, theirs.  The preference of a child is taken in to consideration if the child is of "sufficient age and capacity" to reason so as to form an "intelligent preference as to joint legal or physical custody."  If the 10 year old is immature then most likely a court will not consider their preferences.  The reverse is also true.  So stand your ground and consult an attorney.  Good luck. 

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