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Can your child choose to live only with your ex?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2023 | Child Custody |

As you go through a divorce, you begin to become worried that you are not going to get the custody time that you want with your child. Your goal is to share custody with your ex. Your ex’s goal, on the other hand, is to have sole custody of your child so that they never live with you.

But what really concerns you is that your child has begun to say that they also only want to live with the other co-parent. Are they able to make this decision? If they do, does that mean that you are going to lose your custody rights?

Children’s desires will be considered

This is a bit of a complicated area, but you do need to remember that the desires of a child could be considered during a custody case. Generally speaking, children who are in their teens may be allowed to state those preferences. They are not required to do so, but they can if they would like. Some children have no desire to be part of this process, while others have very strong opinions about where they live.

But never forget that the child’s preferences are not the entire equation. They are just part of it. The court is also going to look at many other factors, such as the health of the co-parents, the living situations they can provide, the proximity to extended family members and much more. 

And, as a general rule, the court will usually prefer shared custody, unless there is a very clear reason not to use it. The child simply asking to spend all of their time with the other co-parent likely is not enough to sway the court without evidence of abuse or something of this nature.

That being said, this can’ get complex, and you need to be well aware of your rights and legal options.