Child chooses parent


In North Carolina, there is no one age at which a trial court is required to take into account the child’s wishes. The decision is left to the judge as to when/whether a child is mature enough for his wishes to warrant consideration.

The following is from Reynolds v. Reynolds, 109 N.C. App. 110, 426 S.E.2d 102 (1993). Internal citations are omitted.

The “paramount consideration” in matters of custody and visitation is the best interests of the child, and in determining such matters the trial Judge may consider the wishes of a child of suitable age and discretion…The child’s wishes, however, are never controlling, “since the court must yield in all cases to what it considers to be the child’s best interests, regardless of the child’s personal preference.”


Thank you! I’ll let my friend know.:slight_smile:


Dear curious1:

Greetings. The court may take into consideration a child’s preference at anytime, but all the judges I know (except for one) dislike having the children brought to them as they believe that involving the children in the custody dispute is detrimental to them. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


At what age will the courts take into account a child’s preference for which parent they wish to reside with? Thank you!