Can a Child Decide Where They Want to Live?

Depending on how old they are, maybe. Washington courts will sometimes consider a child’s wishes, but only if they are old enough and mature enough to express a well-reasoned and independent preference for why they prefer to live with one parent over another. In practice, this normally means courts will only give much weight to the preferences of teenagers. Even then, if there is a compelling reason for a court to believe based on the evidence in front of it that a child’s preference is not actually in his or her best interest, it is not obligated to award custody to the parent the child prefers to live with.

Dealing with child custody and having a child work to decide where they want to live can be challenging and stressful circumstances. Call the experienced child advocate attorneys at Crouse Erickson for the help you and your loved ones deserve.

Crouse Erickson