Children and the Law
Emancipation and Ages for Moving Out

How old does a child have to be in Missouri to decide which parent they want to live with?


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2014-06-11 17:51:22
2014-06-11 17:51:22

Minors are not allowed to choose with whom they wish to live.

In some cases the judge will speak with the minor child and may or may not consider the information gathered in the interview when making a custodial decision.

Custodial decisions are based upon the best interest of the child and not upon the preference of any of the involved parties.

There is no age in the State of Missouri at which a child can choose where they want to live. Missouri Statutes have eight factors that the Court is required to consider in determining custody of a child. The child's wishes are only one of the factors. The Court will look at the emotional and intellectual maturity of the child and the reasons expressed by the child for wanting to live with one parent over the other. As a practical matter, the child should never be put in the position of having to choose which parent they want to live with. This is damaging to the child as the parents, not the child, should be making decisions that are best for that child's overall well-being.


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