Understanding Children’s Rights in Custody Decisions
When Can Children Choose Where They Want to Live, and Do You Need to Go to an Oklahoma Court for It?
So here’s a question from our Facebook group. If one child is 12 and the other is 11, when are they actually allowed to choose where they want to live? And do you have to go back to court for it? And if so, can you choose temporarily or do you need documentation first?
Well this is a pretty good question that kind of raises a couple of complex issues. First of all, the age at which a child’s opinion can be considered is 12. And that’s under Title 43. However, there’s a couple of things to understand. Number one, the child’s opinion is not decisive. It is a factor to be considered. And although you can predicate a motion to modify off of that, it is not a guarantee that that means the court’s going to do exactly what the kid says they want.
You do have to go back to court and it could still, it doesn’t guarantee there’s going to be a successful modification. As for a temporary order, theoretically yes, the court could do a temporary order modifying. It’s difficult in non-emergency circumstances to get a court to do that because essentially you’re going to litigate the case twice. Once for the temporary order hearing and again for the final modification. And it’s going to be on the same issues. So and since you already have a status quo, unlike when you’re doing like a new paternity or a new divorce, it’s not easy to persuade a court in the absence of some kind of a really compelling reason to do that.
Considering the Child’s Opinion
This is a situation where the child’s opinion is going to be, to carry some weight with the 12 year old. The 11 year old is still considered young enough that their opinion is not going to be carrying a whole lot of weight. But to be honest with you, with a 12 year old, because they’re still pretty young, the court will consider their opinion but it’s probably not going to be decisive in the absence of some other grounds why the court should modify.
This is a situation where you probably do need to get with a good lawyer if you are serious about wanting to pursue that and be aware of the fact that the fact that your 12 year old would like to change custody is not a guarantee that that’s what’s going to happen.
Free Consultation and Additional Resources
If you have questions about that, I would encourage you to go to Dads.Law where fathers are not disposable. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your specific situation. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and provide you with the guidance you need.