At what age can a child decide with whom they want to live?
At age 12, a child has the right to express a preference to the court regarding with whom they wish to live. It is mandatory for the court to interview the child if they are 12 years of age or older. The court may interview a child younger than 12 but is not required to do so. The interview takes place in the judge’s office. During the interview, the child will be asked to express their choice of primary conservator (the person with whom they will live). It is very persuasive but not binding on the court. In order to actually change the person with whom the child lives after either a divorce or paternity case has been finalized, a Motion to Modify with a request for the court to interview the child must be filed with the court so that the court can modify its prior order. A child’s expression of preference is not an absolute. The court always considers what is in the best interests of the child. This is the overriding concern of the court.