Table of Contents

Can a 12-Year Old Decide Which Parent To Live With?

Can a 12-Year Old Decide Which Parent To Live With

Family law matters involving child custody are often emotionally charged and complex. One of the key questions that arise in such cases is whether a 12-year-old child can decide which parent to live with. Additionally, can a child be forced to see a parent in Australia?

Can a Child be Forced to see a Parent Australia?

When it comes to determining child custody arrangements, the child’s age can be a significant factor. In Australia, while there is no specific age at which a child can make a legally binding decision about which parent they want to live with, the child’s views and preferences are taken into consideration, particularly as they grow older and demonstrate a higher level of maturity.


The Family Court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child. A 12-year-old child may be able to articulate their preferences, but the court will assess whether those preferences align with their best interests, considering factors such as the child’s emotional and physical well-being, education, and the stability of their living situation.


The Importance of the Child’s Best Interests


In any family law matter concerning child custody, the overarching principle is to act in the best interests of the child. This principle guides the decisions made by the court and ensures that the child’s well-being remains paramount.


The court assesses various factors to determine what arrangement will best serve the child, including:


  • The child’s relationship with both parents: Maintaining a healthy and positive relationship with both parents is generally considered to be in the child’s best interests, unless there are concerns related to family violence or other issues that may put the child at risk.
  • Level of maturity and capacity to express views: As children grow older, their opinions and preferences carry more weight in court proceedings. A 12-year-old child is more likely to be given the opportunity to express their views compared to a much younger child.
  • Family violence and safety considerations: If there are concerns about family violence or a risk to the child’s safety, the court will prioritise the safety and well-being of the child over other factors.
  • Long-term stability and living arrangements: The court will consider the stability of the living arrangements offered by each parent and how these arrangements will contribute to the child’s overall well-being.

In Australia, the Family Court can order that a child spend time with a parent, even if the child may be initially resistant to the idea. This is because maintaining a relationship with both parents is generally seen as being in the child’s best interests, provided it is safe and appropriate.


However, the court’s decisions will always be based on the child’s best interests, and in cases involving family violence or other risks to the child’s well-being, the court may order supervised visitation or other protective measures.


Independent Children’s Lawyers typically get involved in cases when there are allegations of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse. They also intervene when there is an ongoing conflict between parents, and when a child feels disconnected from one or both parents. These lawyers also handle cases involving cultural or religious differences, as well as situations where there is a plan to separate siblings into different households or take a child abroad. It is advisable to avoid the expenses, time, inconvenience, and complexities of court proceedings.


It is preferable to attempt to reach a resolution before resorting to court. Given the potential complications, it is beneficial to seek advice from a knowledgeable legal professional who can provide guidance on options for Family Dispute Resolution (FDR).

Navigating family law matters, especially those involving child custody, can be emotionally draining and legally complex. Family lawyers play a crucial role in helping parents understand their rights, responsibilities, and options. They can provide advice on how to present the child’s best interests in court and advocate for the desired outcome.


In some cases, the court may appoint a family consultant or social worker to assess the family dynamics and provide recommendations to the court based on their professional expertise.


In family law matters involving child custody, the best interests of the child are of paramount importance. While a 12-year-old child’s views may be taken into consideration, the court will ultimately decide on the arrangement that serves the child’s well-being and long-term interests. It is crucial for parents involved in such matters to seek legal advice from experienced family lawyers who can guide them through the process and advocate for the child’s best interests in court. Remember, every case is unique, and seeking professional advice is crucial to navigate the complexities of family law matters in Australia.


At Lyons Law Group, we can assist you in navigating the procedure, guaranteeing that both you and your child are provided with the necessary assistance and direction. Our team specialising in family law can counsel you on your entitlements and obligations, aiding you in reaching a consensus. Contact our divorce lawyers Sydney today.

Divorce Lawyers Sydney

Send An Online Enquiry

“Thank you Lyons Law Group on providing me an exceptional service delivered with care, compassion and a high level of professionalism. The outcome was more than what I had expected. A true reflection of your legal expertise and experience. Thank you Mohammad and team.”
Layalle Itaoui

Our Recent Articles

What Our Clients Say About Us

Rezaul karim RanaRezaul karim Rana
01:47 03 Dec 23
MD. Ramim HassanMD. Ramim Hassan
09:27 30 Nov 23
hridoy hasan pipluhridoy hasan piplu
04:36 29 Nov 23
PM. ParvejPM. Parvej
04:49 27 Nov 23
03:55 26 Nov 23
Md Ismaile hossenMd Ismaile hossen
10:46 25 Nov 23
MD SohelMD Sohel
10:33 25 Nov 23
Sheikh SajibSheikh Sajib
10:12 23 Nov 23
Your MotherYour Mother
07:13 20 Nov 23
02:22 23 Oct 23
"Absolutely fantastic lawyer! Enis Erdem is a true professional who handles cases with skill, dedication, and genuine concern for their clients. He kept me informed throughout the entire process, making sure I understood every step. Enis Erdem is not only knowledgeable but also empathetic, which made a stressful legal situation much more manageable. I can't thank him enough for their outstanding work!"Highly recommended
Bahaddin DibBahaddin Dib
04:59 10 Oct 23
I had Mr khan who is the principal solicitor represent me today, Mr khan fought for me all the way and got me the best result possible. I would highly recommend him for all your law matters and can confidently say that he strives his best for his clients.
Mash HasanMash Hasan
00:38 21 Sep 23
Thank you so much. Great team of criminal defence lawyers.
Joanna StobinskiJoanna Stobinski
02:18 03 Sep 23
I found Lyons Law to be pro-active and easy to work with when dealing with the recent court case of my son.
Joseph BorgJoseph Borg
22:50 02 Aug 23
Mohammad and the team at the Lyons Law Group are a great to work with, they are polite and go above and beyond to help. We are very happy with the assistance they provided our family. I'd highly recommend the team at Lyons Law Group!
Shofiul AzamShofiul Azam
03:32 19 Jul 23
Mr Khan has extensive knowledge of the law and I am very much delighted about his service.
Julie NJulie N
07:12 11 Jul 23
Mohamad and Hijran are professional and straight to the point team. Highly recommended.
samdani gsamdani g
05:35 22 Jun 23
Very friendly and hard working
Mohammad and his time are the greatest criminal lawyers I have dealt with, they are extremely professional and can assist with any cases, big or small.
DR BernoussiDR Bernoussi
04:16 07 Mar 23
Mr Khan was so polite and helpful in directing me to the best possible outcome for my situation. The amount of support and knowledge they offered me was next to none. I didn’t feel like I was being mislead or looked at like a piggy bank. Mr khan and his team have your best interest into getting the best outcome. Pleasure guys kind regards Dr bernoussi
Natasha SusmanNatasha Susman
09:20 26 Jan 23
Lyons Law Group is honestly outstanding ! Hijran especially, not only is she so professional but she does her best and always is there to answer all questions with such understanding. Hijran honestly goes above and beyond and I'll forever be grateful. I highly recommend Lyons Group.
steve .H.steve .H.
16:59 26 Dec 22
A big thank you to Lyons law group, very professional. Mohammad was exceptionally well and handled my case amazing as well as Hijran!!! They really care about your case, I highly recommend this company!
Norris “Chuck” LuNorris “Chuck” Lu
04:15 30 Nov 22
I cannot express my gratitude to the Lyons law team with a big special mention to Mohammad. Having spent the last few years enduring and coping with the most difficult and stressful situation of me and my family's life.I have been using Mohammad and the team at Lyons Law from day one. They guided us through each difficult process in the most professional manner with full transparency, care and compassion.Through each difficult process up to the very last moment they only delivered results that exceeded every and anything we could have expected. Every outcome was exactly as planned and in turn got amazing results.So once again I cannot recommend Mohammad and the team at Lyons law enough. So like I and my Family did, have confidence that Lyons law will always strive for and deliver the best possible outcome.
Omar MOmar M
01:31 16 Nov 22
A BIG thank you to Lyons Law Group with helping me achieve the best outcome for my case. From day one they were very professional, straight to the point and very easy to communicate with, keeping me updated and informed with everything I needed to know. Honestly, exceptional service and support.Thank you once again to Mohammad & Team.
Edward HindsEdward Hinds
05:59 07 Nov 22
Lyons Law Group is amazing. They are very professional, sympathetic, and helpful. I was kept informed during every step. The level of support was second to none. Mohammad went above and beyond and updated me regularly. Hijram too was amazing. Her calls and court representation made me feel at ease. This was a great experience. I cannot recommend Lyons Law Group enough. My gratitude extends to all involved in the handling of my case.