Does a child have a say on which parent to live with in Michigan?

When you have a child with someone in Michigan and your relationship ends, you need to figure out who maintains what responsibilities when it comes to your shared child moving forward. If both you and your child’s other parent wish to have an active role in the child’s life, you may need Michigan’s family court system to come up with a custody arrangement for your family.

Per the Michigan Legislature, family courts in the state refer to a specific set of factors when making decisions about child custody. You may wonder if your child’s own preferences make the cut. Ultimately, whether your child’s opinions about where to live carry much weight is going to depend on several variables.

Your child’s age

If a family court judge feels your child is of an appropriate age to express a preference about which parent to live with and when that judge is likely to take your son or daughter’s wishes under consideration. However, how old a child needs to be to make such a preference is at each judge’s discretion.

Your child’s level of maturity

Age does not always correlate directly with maturity. While your child’s age is an important factor when it comes to whether a judge might hear him or her out, your child’s maturity level may also fall under the microscope. If your child has a history of immaturity, his or her preferences may not hold much weight even if your child is in his or her later teens.

While a judge may listen to and consider your child’s wishes, those wishes, alone, are not enough for a judge to make a decision about custody. Many other areas also undergo review in a Michigan custody case.