Age at which children can choose custodial parent

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I've searched the forum and continue to search the web but have found nothing yet. Is there a law in Germany which states at what age the child(ren) of divorcing parents can decide with which one they would prefer to live with?

 

And yes, I know I need to talk to a lawyer. Just interested on a quick reply in the meantime.

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Nach der nicht nur vorübergehenden Aufhebung der ehelichen Lebensgemeinschaft (durch Scheidung oder durch Trennung von Tisch und Bett) verbleibt im Regelfall die elterliche Sorge bei beiden Eltern gemeinsam – es sei denn, eine der Parteien beantragt erfolgreich das alleinige Sorgerecht. Das Familiengericht gibt diesem Antrag statt, wenn der andere Elternteil zustimmt, es sei denn ein mindestens 14 Jahre altes Kind widerspricht oder in dem Falle, dass das Familiengericht die Übertragung der elterlichen Sorge auf den Antragssteller als dem Wohl des Kindes förderlich erachtet. Voraussetzung hierfür ist, dass die Eltern nicht in der Lage sind, gemeinsame Entscheidungen für das gemeinsame Kind zu treffen, weil sie z. B. zerstritten sind. Dann hat der Familienrichter zu entscheiden, welcher Elternteil die alleinige Sorge erhalten soll. Bei der Entscheidung zu berücksichtigen sind u. a. die Bindungen eines Kindes zu einem Elternteil, die sozialen Kontakte, und eine möglichst umfassende Beibehaltung des Umfeldes des Kindes.

Wikipedia says 14, but the wish of the children will be taken into account, even if not always as the top priority.

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I'm not a lawyer, but I believe Katrina's link is not entirely correct, or at least not the answer to your specific question. Her link is about "Sorgerecht" and states that both parents enjoy joint custody, i.e. "Gemeinsame Sorgerecht" unless the court awards "Alleinige Sorgerecht" to one parent and, in such a case, as long as a (at minimum) 14 year old does not dispute the awarding of that Alleinige Sorgerecht.

 

Where a child actually lives is not just a function of "Sorgerecht" but also "Aufenthaltsbestimmungsrecht" which is a separate but related issue. As far as I know, the only age at which someone can 100% determine where and with whom they live, is 18. As of 12 years of age, the child is "Urteilsfähig" which means he/she can petition the court to change locations and move in with the other parent. The court is obliged to weigh the child's wishes and, if there is no sufficient reason to object, to oblige the child's wishes. That is not to say that at 12 the kid can automatically decide. The court might well rule otherwise given a variety of other factors.

 

Anyway, that's my take on it. As usual, the best answer you can get is from a qualified lawyer.

 

On edit: It's also worth noting that even if a >12 year old successfully petitions to change locations, that does not in and of itself mean that one parent has the "Alleinige Aufenthaltsbestimmungsrecht" or that the parent with whom they chooose to live can move away.

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