Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer
Schedule a Consultation Today! Hablamos Español 412-391-4330
Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Custody > Can Your Children Choose Which Parent They Want to Live with in Pennsylvania?

Can Your Children Choose Which Parent They Want to Live with in Pennsylvania?


As a parent going through a divorce, one of the most difficult aspects of the process can be child custody. In some cases, however, children may express their own preferences over whom they want to live with. But when is your child’s opinion taken into account? Is there a certain age for children to express their own preferences in Pennsylvania?

If you are currently going through a divorce or are considering one and share minor children with your soon-to-be-former spouse, you might want to consult with a skilled lawyer at Bunde & Roberts, P.C. Our Pittsburgh child custody lawyers can explain the applicable laws in Pennsylvania that might affect the determination of who gets custody and who can live with the children.

At What Age Can Children Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With?

In Pennsylvania, there is no certain age that a child is allowed to decide with which parent to live. Instead, the court is going to consider the child’s maturity and judgment, before taking their expressed preference into consideration. However, just because your child, who is of sufficient maturity and judgment, says he or she wants to live with you does not necessarily mean that the court will allow the child to choose which parent they want to live with. There are other factors taken into account when making this decision.

How Are the Child’s Maturity and Judgment Determined?

When determining whether a child is of sufficient maturity and judgment to choose which parent they want to live with, courts may examine several factors such as whether the child has achieved academic success or behavioral milestones, if they have formed strong relationships with family members or friends, and whether they understand the consequences of their decision. The courts may also assess any evidence presented by either party that shows how mature and responsible the child is in comparison with other children their age. The court will also consider the child’s underlying reasoning behind their choice as to which parent they would prefer to live with.

What Other Factors Are Considered When Determining Which Parent Will Live with the Child?

In addition to examining a minor’s maturity level and judgment abilities, Pennsylvania courts also take into account other factors when deciding which parent should live with the child. These include but are not limited to:

  • each parent’s ability to provide emotional support for their children;
  • any special needs of the child;
  • each parent’s willingness and ability to provide a stable home environment;
  • each parent’s willingness to facilitate a cooperative custody relationship with the other parent.

Other factors considered when awarding custody are enumerated in 23 Pa. C.S. § 5328. Thus, even if your child says he or she wants to live with you after your divorce, that does not necessarily mean that the court will disregard all other factors mentioned above.

Discuss Your Case with a Lawyer at Bunde & Roberts, P.C.

Child custody can be challenging but understanding how these decisions are made can help alleviate some of that stress. As you can see, Pennsylvania courts consider a wide range of factors when determining if the child should choose which parent they will live with. Consider speaking with our experienced lawyers at Bunde & Roberts, P.C., to discuss your particular case. Call 412-391-4330 to schedule a consultation.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

© 2020 - 2024 Bunde & Roberts, P.C., Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.