Can a minor child choose which parent they live with?

In cases where divorcing parents are unable to reach an amicable agreement regarding where a child will live after the split, Wisconsin family court judges can rule on the matter. The parents are then legally obligated to abide by this ruling. If they do not agree with the decision or if circumstances change, they may be able to seek a modification. However, adherence to the ruling is still required until such action is taken.

When a custody decision is in the hands of the court, parents may worry that their children will be allowed to tell the judge where they would like to live. They may fear that the judge, who has an obligation to do what’s in the child’s best interests, will rule in favor of the child’s request. This would give the child the ability to choose their own living situation. Is this possible?

What impact do a child’s wishes have on the court’s decision?

Children can have a say in custody proceedings if they are old enough to voice an opinion and understand what doing so means for their future. However, they cannot make the decision on their own.

Under Wisconsin law, “A minor child does not have the legal right to decide which parent he or she will live with.” The court considers many factors, from the health of the parents to the needs of the child. The child’s wishes may be considered as one factor. However, the court weighs them alongside everything else.

Nothing is more important to you than your parental rights. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights and work to seek the custody agreement that’s in the best interests of your child.