Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With After a Divorce?

1Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With After a Divorce?

Divorce can create a difficult situation for families. Generally, parents both have legal custody of their children and can make important decisions regarding their health, education, and more. Typically, a child will reside with one parent and have regular visitation with the other. The parent where the child resides is often called the primary custodial parent. Many parents wonder whether their child is allowed to choose which parent they wish to live with when they get divorced.


Where Will a Child Reside After Divorce?

In most divorce cases, the law assumes that both parents are equally responsible for the care and well-being of their children. Parents share legal child custody, and they may also share physical custody, although that is not as common. Instead, children usually live primarily with one parent. The other parent has regular visitation and provides child support payments. Parents are encouraged to work together to determine the custodial arrangements of their children.


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Do the Courts Allow Children to Choose Where They Live?

Children under the age of 18 are considered minors, and their parents are the adults who are required to make decisions on their behalf. However, sometimes, the court will take into consideration what the child prefers. This is especially the case with older children, typically of high school age, who are able to voice their preferences to the judge. In some cases, the judge will talk to the child to determine the needs and wishes of the child. The judge will take this information under advisement.


Best Interest of the Child

It is important to know that the judge will always make decisions that are in the best interest of the child. This is true even if the child expresses a desire to live with one parent rather than another. The judge will review the information and listen to the parents regarding the best placement of the child. The judge will listen to the child’s wishes and will make a ruling based on the facts of the case.

Each situation is different, and therefore, the outcome of a case is unique. For example, the judge will look at which parent is better able to provide a stable home and details such as keeping the child in the same school and in the same neighborhood as their


Shared Physical Custody

Parents may share physical custody in some cases. Parents may reside close to each other, which will allow the child to easily move between households throughout the week. A child may alternate weeks with each parent or may spend several days with one and then several days with the other. Another option is for the child to remain in the same residence while parents take turns staying there. Parents can work together to come to a solution that will make their children happy while providing the best environment for them. Once the court makes an order, the parents and children must abide by it or take legal action for modification.


Child custody can be an area of concern and can result in disputes between parents. You will want to work together to come to an agreement that is best for the family. Your divorce attorney will assist you through the process of resolving child custody questions and disputes. Contact us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to request a consultation.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.



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