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Can your child choose not to live with you?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2021 | Divorce | 0 comments

You’re getting a divorce, and you want time with your child. You know that the court tends to try to split custody between both parents, rather than preferring one over the other. That doesn’t worry you. 

What you’re concerned about is what your child will request. They clearly have a bond with your ex, who is the “fun” parent. Is your child going to tell the court that they want to live exclusively with your ex, and is the court going to honor that?

A child’s preference is just one part of the custody decision

Your child’s preference may play a role, but don’t worry: It’s not the only factor that the court considers — nor even the biggest one. The court has an entire list of factors that all address the “best interests” of the child. One of the things they consider is that it’s typically better for a child to see both parents — even if that is not what the child wants. 

The child’s age also matters when discussing their preference. A young child may bond with one parent and say they want to only live there, without really realizing the ramifications of that choice. The court may not ask about preferences with a young child or may err with caution on the grounds that the child is being coached or manipulated. Rest assured, the hope is that you and your ex can successfully share custody time. 

Protecting your rights in a custody case

If you’re worried about not seeing your child enough, you need to know what legal steps you can take to protect your custody rights and set things up for a post-divorce future that keeps you involved. Please contact the legal experts at Wilson, Stavros, Rowsey & Thomas to discuss your options.