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Can your child choose where they live after divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2024 | Child Custody

You and your spouse are going to get divorced. You have one child together. You would be happy to split up legal and physical custody after the divorce. Your ex, however, has said that they are going to try to seek sole custody. 

Your concern is that your child may want to live with your ex instead of you. Maybe you think the child has been manipulated by your partner. Maybe the two of them just have a close bond. Either way, you are afraid that the child will tell the court they would prefer that your ex gets custody. Does this mean it’s going to happen?

A child’s preferences are just one factor

Depending on your child’s age, the court may consider their preferences. If your child is a toddler, they’re unlikely to have any say in the custody solution. If they are a high school student, then the court may give them a voice, especially as it pertains to where they live and what school they will attend. After all, the court is trying to create stability for the child after the divorce. 

However, even in a situation where the court allows your child to express their preferences, they do not have to assign custody based on what your child wants. The court considers a wide variety of factors and looks at the child’s best interests overall. In most cases, unless there are clear reasons why it would be dangerous, shared custody is considered best for children. It maintains a relationship with both parents. 

That said, these cases can become complex and conflicts are common. Make sure you know what legal options you have.



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