When minor children are involved, spouses who are parties to a divorce action often wonder at what age are children able to select which spouse to live with. Under Georgia law, children age 14 and older have the right to select which parent to live with in all cases involving custody. The child’s selection will create the presumption that he/she should live with the chosen parent. This presumption can be rebutted by evidence that it is not in the best interests of the child to live with the selected parent. The selection of a child age 14 and older can serve as a basis for a modification to custody as long as (2) years have passed since the most recent selection and it is in the best interests of the child.
With children age 11 but not yet 14, a judge will consider the selection of the child regarding custody under Georgia law. However, unlike with children 14 and older, a presumption is not created by the child’s selection. In determining custody of children age 11 but not yet 14, the court will use a best interests of the child standard and will also consider the educational needs of the child. A selection by a child age 11 but not yet 14 is not in and of itself a sufficient basis for modification of custody. If you have questions regarding divorce and child custody, contact FLFattorneys at (770) 485-6633.