Birmingham, AL asked in Family Law for Alabama

Q: My ex-husband will not give me permission to leave the state with his children.

My children are 13 and 15. At what age can my children decide which parent they want to live with?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Shane Michael Oncale
Shane Michael Oncale
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: Ok, you have 2 different questions really. First, unless there is a court order is place directing otherwise your ex-husband cannot control whether you take your children out of state. Now, you cannot move without following the relocations procedures but as far as out of state trips or visits go unless your order prohibits them what you do with your children on your time is your business. As far as "when a child can decide which parent they want to live with" this is a question I hear ENDLESSLY or more often have a potential client tell me the child is x age so they can just choose.. I don't know where this street law first reared its heard but I can tell you that a child can never at any age "decide which parent they want to live with". The law says that once a child is 12 they may testify as to a preference and the judge needs to consider it but he not not grant it. Some children even younger are called by parents to testify on such issues but I don't recommend it as it is harmful the child and their relationship with the other parent. I will add that even if your children testify to a desire to live with you and the judge honors it, it does not mean that he will allow you to move out of state. So much turns on the facts. If you are seriously considering going back to court to make changes to your Order you need to meet with a qualified lawyer and discuss options and strategy. Many people make bad decisions on "street law" and make their cases more difficult when they could have gotten real useful advice and made the process easier.

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