At What Age Can a Child Choose a Custodial Parent?


Quick Answer

Children of any age cannot chose a custodial parent; instead a judge makes the decision to whom to award joint or sole custody, according to the Oregon courts. The child can be asked by the judge about his choice, though, and the older the child, the more his choice matters in the case.

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Full Answer

Courts rule on custody of a child in cases such as divorce, separation or termination of parental rights. The outcome determines who takes care of the child, controls him and provides for him. There are two types of custody: physical and legal. The former refers to where the child lives, while the latter determines who makes important legal decision for the child. Custody can be sole or joint. Furthermore, other adults, such as grandparents, may be awarded custody.

The judge makes a decision bearing the child's best interests in mind. These include factors such as with whom the child has strong emotional ties, how the parents treat the child, whether one parent abuses another and how committed the parents are to foster the relationship between the child and the other parent. Factors such as income and lifestyle of a particular parent only come into play if these are likely to cause the child emotional or physical harm.

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