Divorce Attorney in Merrill WI: At What Age Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?

 In Divorce, Custody & Placement

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As a divorce attorney in Merrill WI, I am often asked questions such as: “At what age can a child choose which parent he wants to live with?” or “Isn’t it true that a 14 year old can choose which parent to live with?”

Based upon the frequency with which I am asked these types of questions, it’s clear that many parents believe that children should be or are allowed to decide where they should live upon reaching some “magical age.”

In a Wisconsin divorce, if the parties cannot reach an agreement regarding physical placement of the child(ren), the court will allocate periods of physical placement of the child between the parties. In doing so, the court is required to consider a number of factors, only one of which is the wishes of the child.  To be clear, in Wisconsin, there is no magical age at which a minor child may decide with whom he or she wants to live.  Once a child turns 18, he or she is legally an adult, and may, at that time, chose for him/herself where to live.

That said, it is likely that, the older a child is, the more his or her preferences tend to influence the judge. When a 16-year-old’s well-reasoned and well-articulated preference for being with one parent the majority of the time, for example, will likely be accorded more weight than that of an 8-year-old.

Even if primary placement is granted to one parent, the placement schedule must allow a child to have regularly occurring, meaningful periods of physical placement with each parent and must maximize the time spent with each parent, taking into account geographic distance and accommodations for different households. Under Wisconsin law, a child is entitled to periods of physical placement with both parents unless the court finds that physical placement with a parent would endanger the child’s physical, mental or emotional health.  But for circumstances such as these, a child’s desire to live exclusively with one parent likely would not be fulfilled.

Divorce Attorney in Merrill WI

Get more information about a divorce attorney in Merrill WI. Learn more about the legal separation or divorce process, property division, child custody & placement, child support, maintenance or paternity from a divorce attorney in Merrill WI.  If you have questions about your family law matter, call a divorce attorney in Merrill WI for a free telephone consultation. Call 715.843.6700 to speak with a  divorce attorney in Merrill WIDivorce attorney in Merrill WI serving clients throughout north central Wisconsin.  General information about custody & placement in Wisconsin, courtesy of divorce attorney in Merrill WI.

Divorce Attorney in Merrill WI: Eaton Law, LLP

The law offices of Eaton Law, LLP are located in Wausau, Wisconsin.  Our attorneys routinely handle cases in Lincoln County, Wisconsin.



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