< parenting time > time and custody issues are determined based on a best interests of the child standard. Bests interests are determined by a Court by applying various factors spelled out in your state's statutes. Those factors are not exclusive and the Court must consider the totality of all circumstances.
One of those factors is the wishes of the minor child, assuming the child is old enough to express his/her desires. The child's wishes are generally not dispositive on the issue and are weighed as only one factor out of many. As the child matures, their opinions will carry greater weight.
For example, in the State of Tennessee, the statutes allow the Court to consider the reasonable preference of any child age twelve (12) or older. The court, at its discretion, may also hear the preference of a younger child upon request by a party. However, the preferences of older children are given greater weight than those of younger children. Most states have similar laws, some more vague than others. Minnesota allows the Court to consider the preference of a child if the Court deems the child to be of suitable age and maturity.
There are a few rare states that do give greater weight to a child’s desires, although such state statutes are an exception to the rule. In the State of Georgia, state statutes provide – “In all cases in which the child has reached the age of 14 years, the child shall have the right to select the parent with whom he or she desires to live. The child's selection shall be controlling, unless the parent so selected is determined not to be a fit and proper person to have the custody of the child.”