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    Is it true that a child can decide which parent he/she wants to live with at age 14?
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    There is no set age for a child to have attained before a court will honour or respect his/her wishes. Parents often believe that there is a magic age where a child can just decide on his/her own to move from one parent to another.

    Where a custody and access order exists, an access parent who does not return the child to the custodial parent is in breach of that order. The correct thing for the access parent to do is to bring an application to the court to vary the custody order before the child moves. Many parents don?t want to do this because they don?t want to spend the money or they don?t think they have to get a new court order.

    There is no guarantee that a court will respect the wishes of a 14-year old or a 15-year old, although clearly these wishes will be given a good deal of consideration. The court may want evidence as to the child?s maturity or evidence that the child is not being pressured or bribed to change residences. A 13- or 14-year old may want to live with a parent for any number reasons, some of which may not be beneficial to the child, and a court will want to know what reasons the child has for wanting to change his or her residence. The wishes of a 14-year old who wants to live with the father because the father doesn?t make her go to school are likely not to be given great weight by a court. If, however, a child of 14 absolutely and steadfastly refuses to return to an custodial parent for any reason, a court may decide it would be more harmful to force a child to live with that parent than to respect the child?s wishes. The reasonably expressed wishes of a regular 14-year old of average maturity will be given great weight, but will not necessarily be determinative of the issue.

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