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Child choosing which parent they wish to live with.

Hi

At what age can a child legally choose whom he wishes to live with? The child concerned is almost 13 and is requesting that he comes and lives with his father but his mother is refusing. There are no parenting orders however, the child has lived with his mother for 10 years so there is precedence. Also, say the legal age is 14, can the child just pack his things for his usual weekend visit and not return or is there some legal avenue that needs to be followed?

We will be applying for mediation, when we work out how (any advice on that would also be appreciated) but wish to avoid Family Court as we literally cannot afford it.

legal age is 18
precedence? i don't think so!
As there are no court or consent orders, either parent can keep the child.

If he ran-away at 13 to live on the streets police or welfare could/should act but unless the child is at risk from harm from a parent they are unlikely to get involved.

To organize mediation look up family dispute resolution providers, in the yellow pages. Just call and make an appointment, they will explain the process.
I went through this when the child was 13. Magistrate Brewster said he couldn't make the child live where the child didn't want to. To that end, should the child visit you and not want to go back to the other parent, there's nothing anyone can do, not even a Federal Magistrate apparently.
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