Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

When can a child decide who to live with?

When a child is involved in a dispute over where they should live, it can be a very difficult and emotional time for everyone involved. The child’s best interests are always the most important factor in any decision about where they should live, and the child’s wishes and feelings will be taken into account.

In England and Wales, the Family Court has the power to decide who a child should live with, and can also make orders about the time a child will spend with the other parent (formerly known as “contact”). The court will consider a number of factors when making a decision about where a child should live, including the child’s wishes and feelings, the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs, the likely effect of any change in the child’s circumstances, and the capacity of each parent (or other person) to meet the child’s needs.

The age and maturity of the child will also be taken into account when considering their wishes and feelings. Children over the age of 12 are generally considered to be of an age where their views can be taken into account, although the court may still consider the views of younger children if they are considered to be mature enough to express a considered view.

If a child expresses a preference about where they would like to live, the court will take this into account, but it is not the only factor that will be considered. The child’s wishes and feelings may be expressed through a child and family reporter employed by CAFCASS, who is a specialist appointed by the court to speak to the child and report back to the court on their views.

If you are a parent who is involved in a dispute about where your child should live, it is important to try to reach an agreement with the other parent if possible. This can be done through mediation, which is a process where an independent mediator helps the parents to reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court may become involved and make a decision about where the child should live. It is also important to bear in mind that the court’s primary concern is the child’s best interests, and not necessarily the wishes of the parents. If you are involved in a dispute about where your child should live, it is a good idea to seek legal advice from a solicitor who can advise you on the best course of action and help you to understand the legal risks involved.

When can a child decide who to live with?
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