Originally Posted by layoungga
I have a granddaughter that is 8 years old that has expressed numerous times that she wants to live with her father. We live in Georgia and were wondering at what age a child can make that decision so we can go before a judge to what decision would be made.
There is a sticky note at the top of this forum that addresses this issue and would have answered your question. You might want to make sure you look at the stickies before posting, it may save you some time.
Originally Posted by jseguilaw
at the age of 14, a child can file an affidavit electing which parent they want to live with. It can't be a third-party relative, only mom or dad. Then there has to be an action filed to modify custody.
After the child is 11, the court will ask the child which parent he or she wants to live with, but the child's desire is only instructive until the age of 14.
The process is referred to as a "14-year-old election."
You are new to this forum so I'm not going to give you a negative comment. I believe the process as you cited is correct for wherever you live in. But you have to understand that this site is used internationally. The laws and rules that may apply where you live probably do not apply everywhere. To maintain the accuracy of this site, you need to detail the area where these rules apply or provide a citation to the statutes that you refer to. Otherwise you are not helping the person who asked.
Also you explanation did not mention the fact that the child's preference is only a guideline and is NOT binding on a judge. As far as I'm aware, every US state ultimately leaves the decision up to a judge. Some states do have guidelines on how much weight to put on the child's preference but the decision is in the hands of a judge and is supposed to be based on the best interests of the child. So, while your answer may have accurately details the process, it really is not an accurate response to the asker.
Back to layoungga
As you can see by your responses and the sticky I referred to, your grandaughter cannot make this decision.
Following is from Georgia statute 19.9.3
(5) In all custody cases in which the child has reached the age of 14 years, the child shall have the right to select the parent with whom he or she desires to live. The child's selection for purposes of custody shall be presumptive unless the parent so selected is determined not to be in the best interests of the child. The parental selection by a child who has reached the age of 14 may, in and of itself, constitute a material change of condition or circumstance in any action seeking a modification or change in the custody of that child; provided, however, that such selection may only be made once within a period of two years from the date of the previous selection and the best interests of the child standard shall apply.
(6) In all custody cases in which the child has reached the age of 11 but not 14 years, the judge shall consider the desires and educational needs of the child in determining which parent shall have custody. The judge shall have complete discretion in making this determination, and the child's desires shall not be controlling. The judge shall further have broad discretion as to how the child's desires are to be considered, including through the report of a guardian ad litem. The best interests of the child standard shall be controlling. The parental selection of a child who has reached the age of 11 but not 14 years shall not, in and of itself, constitute a material change of condition or circumstance in any action seeking a modification or change in the custody of that child. The judge may issue an order granting temporary custody to the selected parent for a trial period not to exceed six months regarding the custody of a child who has reached the age of 11 but not 14 years where the judge hearing the case determines such a temporary order is appropriate. O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3
As you can see, at 14 a child's preference carries considerable weight in GA. But the judge can overrule the child's preference if they deem ist not in the best interests of the child. From 11-14, their preference carries lesser weight and under 11 is not specifically addressed.