How old does a child need to be to decide where to live?

Updated: Sep 25

It is a common misconception that there is a magical age where children get to decide which parent they want to live with. I am often asked what age a child gets to decide? There is a very short answer to this question. 18! Until a child turns 18, that child is still a minor. Once that child turns 18, they are legally an adult.

Now, for the longer answer to this question. It is common for teenagers to begin having their own ideas of where they want to spend time and what parent they want to see and when. It is the duty of each parent to encourage and enforce the current Parenting Time schedule ordered by the Court. This means that if a teen child does not "want to go" to Mom's or Dad's, the other parent MUST encourage and enforce that that child complies with the Parenting Time Order. If that parent does NOT do this, the Court could potentially hold that parent in contempt of a Court Order for not complying.

It is also the duty of both parents to promote and encourage a positive relationship with the other parent so that a child spends time with each parent.

If you believe a Parenting Time Order should be changed, it is the duty of that parent to file a Motion with the Court to modify the current Parenting Time Order.

Most family courts will want to see children have positive relationships with their parents. Upon a Motion filed, a Court may Order that a child and/or the child's parents attend counseling together to reunify the parent and child, repair the parent/child relationship or improve co-parenting between parents.

If you are facing parenting time issues, call our office today to discuss your options.

Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr handles cases in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and all surrounding counties, call today for a consultation. 269-381-4471


121 W Cedar Street

Kalamazoo, MI 49007

All information provided on this site should not be construed as legal advice.   Always meet with an attorney to find out your legal options.

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