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When Can My Child Choose Which Parent They Live With?


As the best child custody lawyers in Arizona we often get asked, “when can my child choose which parent he or she wants to live with?” And I’ve got to tell you, when kids get a little bit older, that’s a pretty common question that I get. I think there’s an understanding out there that at some point in time, when kids get to a certain age, they are going to be allowed to pick which parent they want to live with. The fact of the matter is, that there are some states where that’s possible, but Arizona is not one of those states. instead, Arizona, in considering what is in the best interests of a child, does allow a court to consider what the child wants based on their age and maturity.

So how does this happen? Well, typically, this happens either during the time of the divorce or, if the divorce happened years ago, one parent is coming back and seeking modification. Among all of the factors the court has to consider in determining what’s in the best interest of the child, the wishes of the child is one of about ten or eleven factors. So it’s not the only factor the court will consider. Most often, the court will allow the child to be interviewed either by someone from the court or by some kind of a specialist that the court can appoint to get a better understanding as to what the child wants. A child is never going to be allowed to come into court and testify- and it’s very, very, very rare for the judge to interview the child him or herself. So it’s not as simple as simply walking into court and telling the judge what your child wants.

The judge also has to consider the maturity of the child. In my experience, if your child is eight or nine or ten years old, the court is probably not going to give much weight to what your child wants. They just don’t think that that’s an age where a child understands the consequences of their decisions. In my experience, most of the time, a judge puts more weight onto the wishes of a child who is in high school and probably even more specifically when they’re about fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen years old. In any event, it’s very rare for a judge to simply tell a child, “You can pick where you want to live and you don’t have to see the other parent.” It is almost always the case that a judge is gonna require some kind of parenting time with both parents, even if the parenting time with one parent is significantly reduced.

We all understand that as kids get older, they want their wishes considered. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe that it’s appropriate to change the parenting schedule or the parenting plan, and your child is of an age where the court should consider his or her wishes, please contact us here at the law offices of Kevin Jensen. Schedule time to meet with one of our attorneys. We’ve handled many of these cases and would be happy to sit down and discuss your specific situation and give you the best advice we can on how to proceed with your specific case. Thank you.

For more videos answering common child custody questions click here.

Our team of family law attorneys and divorce attorneys look forward to helping you when you need it most. With over two decades of aggressive divorce, child custody, child support, and divorce mediation representation we will not allow you to be taken advantage of. We believe in making a difference in the lives of our clients and their children.


Mesa, AZ – Office

Located in Mesa Arizona, on Val Vista and Southern Avenue. Our Family Law Attorneys and Divorce Lawyers in Mesa AZ have been helping our clients achieve the legal results they are searching for. Our Mesa Law Firm offers Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Mesa AZ
3740 E. Southern Ave Suite 210
Mesa, AZ 85206
(480) 999-2321
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/mesa

Chandler, AZ – Office

Located On Dobson Road, just North of W. Chandler Blvd, near the 101 Freeway. We have a team of the Best Divorce Lawyers and Family Law Attorneys in Chandler Arizona. Our Chandler Law Firm offers Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Chandler AZ
333 N. Dobson Rd #5
Chandler, AZ 85224
(480) 632-2083
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/chandler

Gilbert, AZ – Office

Located in South East Gilbert, Near Higley High School on Pecos Road, West of Power Road in the Power Ranch Neighborhood. Our Gilbert Law Firm offers Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Gilbert AZ
4365 E. Pecos Rd Suite 138
Gilbert, AZ 85295
(480) 900-2302
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/gilbert

Florence, AZ – Office

Located in the Community of Anthem in Florence Arizona, off of Hunt Hwy. Our Florence Law Firm is staffed with family law attorneys that offer Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Florence AZ
3281 N. Hunt Hwy Suite 111
Florence, AZ 85132
(480) 632-1120
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/florence

Glendale, AZ – Office

Located in Glendale. Our Glendale Law Firm offers Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Glendale AZ
7075 West Bell Road Suite 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
(602) 834-8585
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/glendale/




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Jensen Family Law in Mesa is located on 3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210, 85206 Mesa, Arizona. From Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Take S 41st St to E Sky Harbor Blvd, then head west on E Sky Harbor Blvd and Use the left lane to take the exit toward S 41st St. Then Turn right onto S 41st St. After that, Continue straight to stay on S 41st St, then Take AZ-202 Loop E, AZ-101 Loop S and US-60 E to S Val Vista Dr in Mesa. Take exit 184 from US-60 E after that Merge onto E Sky Harbor Blvd, then Use the left 2 lanes to merge onto AZ-202 Loop E toward Tempe/Mesa and Use the right 3 lanes to take exit 9 to merge onto AZ-101 Loop S. After that, Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 55A-B to merge onto US-60 E toward Globe, then Take exit 184 for Val Vista Dr. Then Continue on S Val Vista Dr to your destination and Turn left onto S Val Vista Dr. Turn right onto E Southern Ave, then turn left and Destination will be on the right.

We’re open 9 AM – 5 PM Monday – Friday and we are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

For additional questions you can call us at (480) 999-2321 or you can find us on Yelp.