Family law requires experts to interpret correctly and resolve family issues. Child custody is one of the issues that must be carefully resolved to avoid creating negative impacts on the children in the dissolved marriage. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the divorce happening between the spouses, children should not be made to suffer.

Couples going through divorce are usually surprised to learn that children cannot choose which parent they desire to live with until they reach a majority age of 18 in Ontario. It seems very complicated in family law when children can legally decide where to live. However, the court may consider the opinion and preferences of the child when the come reaches a certain age.

When parents fail to mutually agree on who gets the child custody during separation or divorce, the court may be involved to settle the child custody and access issue. However, the opinion of the child may not count when the court is determining child custody if the child has yet to reach a certain age. The reason is that the child’s maturity is a factor in determining if the child’s opinion or preference will be considered by the court in determining where the child will live.

Considering the family law provisions, the court will decide in the best interests of the child when deciding who gets child custody between the parents. However, the older the child is will affect how much their opinions and preferences will be considered by the court. So, when talking about the age at which a child can legally decide where to live especially in a divorce situation, the court will consider the child’s gender and maturity.

The opinions and preferences of girls of 12 to 13 years old regarding where to live after their parents’ divorce will undoubtedly be considered by the court, and the court will pay attention to them when granting child custody to any of the parents. In the case of boys, they have to be of age 13 to 14 years old for their preferences to be considered when deciding their custody.

Until your child is around 12-13 years old and 13-14 years old for girls and boys respectively, the child cannot legally decide where to live. If your child is younger and he or she desires to live with you, he or she has to reach at least 12 years old as a girl and 13 years old as a boy to convince the court about where to stay.


Divorce or separation is a crucial period in the child’s life. It is therefore important to ensure that they are not affected by the parents’ decision. In view of this, the court must the best decision regarding child custody according to family until the children are old enough to decide where to live.