Legally speaking, children cannot choose where they want to live until they turn 18 years old. In reality however, as children get older, the Court will give more weight to their wishes about which parent they want to live with. In assessing how much weight to place on the views of older children, the Court will look at the level of maturity of the child in question, their ability to understand the decision they are making, how long they have held their opinion for, and any other factor the Court considers relevant.
The Court will “hear” who a child wants to live or spend time with by making Orders for a Child Inclusive Conference Memorandum or a Family Report, or by appointing an Independent Children’s Lawyer who will meet with the children.
It is important to remember however that children’s views are only one factor that the Court will consider when determining the appropriate arrangements for your kids.
See a member of our expert family law team to determine how a Court might consider your children’s views, and what other factors might be relevant for the parenting arrangements for your children.