How A Family Law Attorney Can Help

Can A Teenager Decide Which Parent They Want To Reside With?

If you were divorced with a child, you likely have a child custody agreement. The agreement may have been decided by both parties, or a judge may have issued a ruling based on what they perceived to be the child's best interests. However, as your child grows and becomes a teenager, you may start to wonder if they have any say in which parent they reside in. There are a lot of people out there who believe that children do have a say in which parent they reside with once they become teenagers. Here is some information you should know if this is something you wonder or are concerned about.

Do Teenagers Get to Decide Which Parent to Live With?

The simple answer is no, teenagers do not get to pick which parent they want to live with. Ultimately, it is up to both parents or a judge to decide what is in the best interests of a child. If a teen wants to reside with their father, instead of their mother, a judge has to determine why that is and if it is really in the best interests of the child. If the judge decides that it is not, the teen cannot make their own living decision until they are 18 years old.

Do Teenagers Have Any Say in Who Has Custody of Them?

If there are custody issues, many judges will ask to speak to the teenager in question. The judge may ask them to describe their current living situation, any pros and cons to that living situation, their relationship with both of their parents and which parent they prefer to live with and why. The judge will then use this information to make a decision. As such, the teen's wishes are heard, but ultimately, a judge has the final say in awarding or changing the current custody agreement.

Why Can't Teenagers Decide Which Parent to Live With?

There are a number of reasons why a teenager is not allowed to have their own voice and pick which parent to live with. First, they can't enter into a legal agreement because they simply don't have solid judgement skills yet. Secondly, teens can fight with their parents. This does not mean that the parent is doing a bad job though. They may have strict rules in place, whereas the other parent may be more lenient. Courts don't want teens gaming the system and picking a parent that allows them more freedom to do as they wish. Lastly, the courts want what is in the best interest of the child. There may be underlying issues a court is aware of that a child is not. Allowing kids to pick their custodial parent may place them in unsafe situations.

Many people believe the myths that once children become teenagers and hit a magical age, they are allowed to pick which parent they want to reside with if their parents are divorced. However, while a judge will listen to a teen's preferences and reasoning, the judge has the final say in deciding which parent a teen will live with. For more information, contact a law office like Kalasnik Law Office.