At what age can a child choose custody?

"At what age can a child choose with which parent the child wants to live?"
This is the most common question I am asked about Ontario child custody!

Technically, the child cannot choose which parent they want to live with.

Rather, the court considers the child’s wishes and preferences about the parents.
What the child wants is only one out of several facts a court considers.
The older the child is, the more weight that is given to his or her opinion.

Most people, of course, are looking for exact numbers as to ages.
There are no such rules!

However, from what I’ve seen, the wishes of children fourteen and over are normally decisive in child custody disputes. This is primarily because at that age, if a child does not like things, he or she can simply hop on a bus and go to the other parent’s home.

As well, the court normally considers the wishes of children between the ages of eight and thirteen.

The wishes of children younger than eight normally have a minimal impact on custody.


Bitter Child Custody Battles
Behrendt Law Chambers has represented many parents in bitter child custody battles.

Bitter Child Custody Dispute Over Infant
A client came to Behrendt Law Chambers when his wife left home with their nine-month-old daughter. Communication between him and his wife had broken down completely. His wife
wanted sole custody and was willing to let him see his daughter only three times per week, and then for only two to three hours per visit. Behrendt Law Chambers successfully won joint
custody for his client and access with his daughter three full days per week.

In another dispute, all communication between the parents of a 10 year old and 7 year old broke down. As well, the wife had charged Behrendt Law Chambers’ client with assault. Despite
this, Behrendt Law Chambers obtained joint custody for his client. As well, the mother wanted to move the children from a French-language school to an English-language school. Behrendt Law Chambers ensured that the children were able to continue in the same French-language school they had been in.

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