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What age can a child choose where to live in PA?

1 Answers. Asked on Aug 08th, 2013 on Child Custody - Pennsylvania
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My son is 16. We currently have joint custody, one week with me, one with his father. My son has come to me and asked me to get a lawyer because he wants to live with me. We are in PA. Is there any rights for him? I was told several years ago that since we had joint custody, the judge would not allow a change in custody.
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Answered on Aug 08th, 2013 at 3:16 PM

In Pennsylvania, a judge has ultimate responsibility to determine the best interest of a child when parents cannot agree.  The custody statute lists 16 factors (23 Pa.C.S. Section 5328) that a judge must consider when determining the child's best interest, although number 16 is "any other relevant factor," so the court is not limited in what it can consider.  One of the factors is the "well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child's maturity and judgment."  A judge would consider your son's preference, his age, and his reasons for the request to live with you, along with the other factors in entering a custody order.  

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Your children are precious, and issues of child custody shouldn't be treated casually. Even the most amicable splits and custody agreements should be negotiated with the assistance of child custody attorneys and approved by the courts. Once a judge has approved the agreement, changes in custody or visitation, as well as enforcement of child custody agreements, should be handled with the assistance of your lawyer. Child custody law firms can also work with grandparents and other parties other than parents who are seeking custody of a child.
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