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Can the children decide where to live?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2022 | Family Law

As your divorce gets closer, you know that sharing time with the children is your biggest goal. Your marriage is going to end, but being a parent is still the most important thing to you. Your custody rights are a major focus. 

What you’re worried about is that your children may prefer to live with your ex. Maybe they just get along well, or maybe you’re even worried that your ex is trying to influence them. Either way, can they choose not to live with you? And if they do choose to live with your ex, does that mean you won’t see them?

A child’s preferences will be considered

Most very young children are not even given a say in the matter. The court knows that they have to rule in the child’s best interests and that a young child cannot make those decisions on their own. But some older children, such as teenagers, may be allowed to state their preferences. They get a say in their custody situation. 

When the court hears this preference, they will consider it along with factors like living situations, physical health, mental health, age, gender, who is the primary breadwinner and who is the primary caretaker – among many other things.

But that doesn’t mean that the child’s preferences are going to be granted. In most cases, the court does want to have both parents stay involved, so it takes something drastic for them to take that away from you.

Even so, this isn’t an area where you want to take any chances. Be sure that you fully understand all the legal options at your disposal during the divorce.