Michigan child custody law – can a child choose who to live with?

Michigan child custody law – can a child choose who to live with?  One question, I get asked every week is at what age can a child choose who to live with?  Not surprisingly, the question is asked after a parent determines that the child now wants to live with them.


The answer to the question is simple a child can choose to live with a parent at age 18.  Until that time, the court may take the reasonable preference of the child into consideration, but the child does not choose.

In every Michigan child custody case, a court must evaluate the “best interest of the child” factors as set forth in Michigan compiled laws section 722.23, even if the parties agree on everything.  https://www.thedivorceguy.com/kids-custody-and-support/

Factor (i) of the Michigan child custody law best interest factors provides that a court should consider the reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.

There is no “minimum” age for a child to express a preference.  Notwithstanding a court will typically give more weight to an older child’s preference.  The maturity of the child will also play a role.

While there is not requirement to give equal weight to all factors, Factor (i) is one of 12 factors the court must consider and a child’s preference can play a role in the determination.

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I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades.  The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.

That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.

We want to help you manage your situation. Let our exceptional legal team help you . . .


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By:  Daniel Findling

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