My daughter just turned 8-years-old and says she wants to live with me. She has been having problems with her Dad since he remarried a year ago. It apparently is a stressful environment for her because she says her Dad yells at her and there is a lot of arguments in the house between her Dad and his wife. Do I have any options at this point? I would love to have my daughter come live with me. Can we go to court based on this? Would the court listen to an 8-year-old or does she have to be older?
Courts generally do not let children state where they would like to live. Parents often believe that their children can request which parent they would like to live with upon turning a certain age (usually 12-years-old); however, this is not the case with most courts. Courts will consider a child’s wishes when adjudicating custody and timeshare, if the child is of an age to rationally articulate their preferences.
Because your daughter is 8-years-old, it may be unlikely for the court to consider her preference. However, you may be able to work out an alternative custody arrangement with your daughter’s father based on your concerns. The feasibility of a new arrangement will depend on your original court order which may need to be modified.