Is your child old enough to choose whom to live with?

| Jan 20, 2021 | Uncategorized |

If you’ve gotten a divorce and have children whom you share custody of, they will inevitably reach the age when they want to be more independent and have a say when it comes to their daily activities. Especially in the teen years, it’s not uncommon to hear that one of your children wants to move in with the other parent or that they’re unhappy with their custody arrangements.

Some parents worry that their children may say or do something they regret, such as tell a judge that they want to move despite it not being in their best interests. There is often the misunderstanding that teenage children get the opportunity to select where they live, but the reality is that they do not. They may get an opportunity to speak to the judge, but the judge is the person who makes the final decision.

Should you worry about your child asking to move out?

If your child comes to you and asks to move in with the other parent, that’s a good time to sit down with them and to find out what’s bothering them. Maybe the other parent’s home is nearer to their school or favorite activities. Perhaps they are unhappy with a new spouse or stepsibling that now lives in your home. Find out what the issue is, so you can address is adequately.

If you have a good relationship with your ex-spouse, you may be able to negotiate a new custody arrangement that better suits your child. However, if the arrangement that you have now works for you, then there is no reason to worry about changing it. Unless your child is in danger or is being injured in one of your homes, their request may not amount to much. It would be better, as parents, for both you and your ex-spouse to sit down with them and to try to come up with a solution outside court.

If you do come up with a new custody agreement that your child is comfortable with, let your attorney know. That way, you can have it submitted to the court for approval.