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Custody modification– just because a child is 12 doesn’t mean it changes.

There is a statute which allows a child of 12 to state a preference as to custody. People often think that once a child turns 12 they can say where they want to live, but that is not the case. This point was emphasized in the recent case of Campbell v. Watts, No. 2014 – CA – 01298 – COA (Decided October 20, 2015). In that case, the Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s decision to change custody of a teenage son from his father to his mother because the teenage son said he wanted to alternate time with his parents and because the child was showing some rebellious behavior. The court emphasized that custody cannot be changed without demonstrating a material adverse change in circumstances in the custodial parents household which adversely affects the child. The court stated that the trial court should have enhanced the mother’s visitation instead of changing custody.