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At What Age Does a Child Decide the Custody & Access Schedule?

Video: At What Age Does a Child Decide the Custody & Access Schedule?

By: Steven Benmor, B.Sc., LL.B., Family Lawyer

Jurisdiction: Ontario (Canada)

[Host: How old does a child have to be before they start making their own decisions? Do they have to go to that parent? Do they … you know, those kind of issues.] That’s a very common question. The actual law in Ontario [Canada] says that a child’s views and preferences, if they can be ascertained are a factor to be determined when it comes to custody and access rights. So there is a long list of factors, one of which is the child’s views and preferences. In other words, if a child says, “I want to live with my father.” Is that the final word? Answer, no. It’s a factor. It’s just a consideration. A judge or the family has to look at all of the factors. So then the question becomes, well then what is the age when their wishes are given a lot of weight? Is it ten years old? Fourteen? Sixteen? Well, the answer is the older they are, generally, the more mature they are and the more their … (click here for more)

Steven Benmor

(’First Take Live’ video clips courtesy of Dan Carter Productions. Original Broadcast: 2007) About the author: Steven Benmor practices Family Law in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Visit Steven Benmor’s online Family Law Resource Center for concise answers to many more frequently asked Family law questions, feature articles on Family law topics, dozens of links to other Family law websites, and more at The information on this page is for discussion purposes only. It is by no means legal advice or even a statement of the law on this subject. Please do not rely on the accuracy or completeness of this information. Any question or concern elicited by the information on this page should be taken to a lawyer who will consider the facts of each case and the legal remedies available.