Although no couple ever enters into a relationship with plans to separate in the future, the reality is that separation and divorce are becoming increasingly common in the modern world. One of the most common issues that family lawyers have to deal with is who takes custody of children following a separation.
Unfortunately, child custody issues are often complicated, and they can result in long, drawn out legal battles. Even if one parent is awarded custody and the other visiting rights, there might come a point in the future where a child decides that they actually want to live with the other parent.
With this in mind, it’s important to think about the question of how old a child needs to be before the can choose to live with the other parent.
When Can Children Decide Definitively Who To Live With?
Ultimately, a child’s wishes are taken into account in Australian courts and custody disputes, regardless of their age. However, how much weight these wishes are given depends on their maturity and their age, among other factors.
The sad reality is that Australian children can’t make definitive decisions about who to live with on their own until they reach adulthood – that is, until they turn 18 years old. There may become a point where they decide to take matters into their own hands before then, but legally, they are bound by their parent’s wishes until they turn 18.