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Can your child choose where they live?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Child Custody

When their parents get divorced, very young children may not have any preference about where they live. They may not fully understand what’s happening, and they simply want to continue seeing both parents. Fortunately, this is also what the court wants and likely what the parents want, so it works out well to share custody.

However, there are situations in which older children may express a preference to live with one parent or another. For example, a teenager may feel that they have a closer bond with one parent than another, so they would prefer to spend more time at their house. Are they able to make this request when the divorce case goes to court?

The child’s best interests

Children of this age usually can make their preferences known in court, and they can request where they would like to live. But that doesn’t mean that the court is necessarily going to rule in exactly the way that they would want. The court looks at the child’s best interests overall, and their preference is just one of the factors that they are going to consider at this time.

Usually, without evidence of abuse or some other clear negative event, courts are hesitant to give one parent sole custody. So they will err on the side of seeking a joint custody solution, even if that doesn’t mean that the time the child spends with each parent is split perfectly in half.

This type of arrangement can get complicated and it’s important to understand your parental rights as you move forward.