Can a 13 year old have any say in who has custody?

UPDATED: Aug 13, 2011

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Can a 13 year old have any say in who has custody?

Her father already has sole custody but the girl would rather be with her mother and does not feel comfortable with her dad. The child wants her mom have sole custody or at least joint custody. The only reason her father has sole custody is because he convinced her mother by lying that it would be faster that way and she would still have the same rights towards her daughter. He also lied by saying that he would pay her the money that is her due after 15 years of marriage.

Asked on August 13, 2011 Illinois


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, the mother is going to have to go back to court and seek a modification of the existing custody order. Typically, a minor child (i.e. under the age of 18) cannot choose which parent they want to live with. The judge will look as certain factors in making it determination - home environment, income and education of the parents, the child's relationship with each parent, reason for wanting the change, etc. 

However, while a child cannot outright choose where they want to live, if they over the age of 12, their preference is given consideration and is one of the factors that the judge will consider (the older the child, the more weight it is given).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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