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Can your child pick which parent they want to live with in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2021 | child custody

You’re involved in a custody dispute with your ex-spouse, and you’re pretty sure that they’re playing games to try to “win” your child’s favor.

You have always encouraged your child to be their best, and you have rules that you expect them to follow. Suddenly, however, your ex has decided on a relaxed approach to parenting that involves pretty much letting your pre-teen or teen do whatever they want.

Naturally, your child would prefer to live with their other parent right now. Can they simply tell the judge that’s their choice?

There’s no magic age at which point your child can choose where to live

Some states factor in a child’s preferences once a child turns a certain age. Others allow a judge to consider the child’s wishes if, in their estimation, the child has sufficient maturity and understanding of the issues at hand.

North Carolina is a bit different. There is no specific age at which children can weigh in on custody decisions. There’s also no specific rule that indicates how that opinion should be balanced against any other factors that are relevant to the decision.

In the end, North Carolina judges will focus primarily on whatever is in the child’s best interests. If they choose to hear your child’s opinion on the matter, they will likely ask questions about what life is like at your house, your ex’s house and why they want to live with one parent over the other.

Don’t panic if your ex is playing mind games over custody

Judges are pretty savvy folks, and they’ve seen these types of custody games before. Discuss the problem with your attorney to learn more about what you can do to fight back.