What Age Can My Teenager Decide Which Parent They Want To Live With?

There are many common assumptions about the question of what age a child can decide for themselves which parent they are going to live with.  What is the correct answer? 

Despite all the assumptions and myths we hear, most people do not know what the answer is and that is because THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT ANSWER.

There are many factors a judge must consider when deciding on which parent a child, even a teenager, will live with and their wishes are only one of those factors.  Other factors a judge might consider are:

  • The best interests of the child, not to be confused with the child’s wishes;
  • Whether the child has been alienated from one parent;
  • Whether the child has withdrawn from parental charge;
  • The age and maturity of the child; and;
  • Any other factors surrounding the family the judge might feel are relevant.

In the case of L. (N.) v. M. (R.R.) 2016, Justice Perkins outlines many of these factors in his analysis of whether to let the child decide which parent they will live with.  He provides an in depth look at the historical rights of children and how they impact decisions today.

So as you can see, the question of what age can a child decide which parent they want to live with is not so easily answered.  Be wary of water cooler talk where everyone has a story, an answer, an example and seek legal advice from a licensed lawyer who can try to SiMPlify your questions and help you decide how to proceed.  SMP Law is here to help SiMPlify your questions and help you decide what is best for you and your children.

Contact us anytime at SMP Law to help SiMPlify your legal matter at 905-565-9494 or email info@smplaw.ca if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment to meet and discuss your situation and how we can help.