Many parents ask this question and believe the age is 12 but there is actually no set age in Virginia. In deciding custody and visitation matters, the Courts evaluate numerous factors, one of which is the preference of the child. The preference of the child is then given varying weight depending upon the child’s reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience. It is also important to consider the child’s motivations for a preference – one parent could spend more time with the child and provide a more stable home OR one parent may have no rules and allows the child do what he or she wants. Obviously, the child’s preference should be given greater weight in the first scenario and less weight in the second scenario. This is why the Courts look at many factors and will not always follow the child’s preference.