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Can child pick who she wants to live with after divorce in MA?

My wife and I are getting a divorce and we have a 14 year-old daughter. Things are getting ugly fast and my wife is trying to bully my daughter into saying she wants to stay with her after the divorce. How is this going to work? I'm in the process of getting a lawyer, but will my daughter be able to tell the judge what she wants?

 
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Editor's Response

Yes.  It sounds like you do indeed need a MA divorce attorney.  Talk to your attorney about this issue, including what your wife has been doing.  If appropriate, your attorney can ask the court to consider a child's opinion regarding custody and visitation (when the child is over 14).  The good news for your daughter is that this process is not usually performed through testimony in court, but through an interview with a probation officer.  The officer will then make a report to the judge.  Whether before the divorce or after, it is important to stress that minors may express a preference through the process discussed above, but the final decision regarding custody comes from the court, based on the best interest of the child standard.  Good luck.

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