Children & teens
At what age can children choose which parent they get to live with?
Many people believe that when children turn 12, they can choose which parent they'll live with, but this isn't true. When your parents are trying to figure out where you'll live after a separtion or divorce, or if a judge is deciding, they have to make the decision based on what's best for you. According to the law, the "child's best interests" involves a bunch of things — not just what you want but also your relationship with each parent and their ability to take care of you. If your wishes are based on poor reasons, or your parents or the judge think there are other important facts related to what's best for you, they can decide on living arrangements that you don't agree with.
For more information, see the online fact sheets Guardianship and Custody and the booklet Living Together or Living Apart: Common-Law Relationships, Marriage, Separation, and Divorce.
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