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Can a child choose which parent they want to live with?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2023 | Child Custody |

Some children may have a preference regarding which parent they live with most of the time. When their parents get divorced and custody is split up, they may want to have the ability to make this choice. They want a say in where they live and how their life plays out after the divorce – which is very understandable. 

Conversely, parents may be afraid that letting children choose could be problematic. Maybe the child will choose to only live with one parent. Does that mean the other parent just doesn’t get custody rights? How much of an impact will a child’s desires have in a situation like this?

Children can express their wishes

In many cases involving older children, they are given a chance to express their wishes to the court. After all, the court is focusing on their best interests. What the child prefers could certainly be in those best interests. They have a right to make requests regarding their own custody situation.

That being said, the court is not obligated to follow those custody requests. A child may say that they only want to live with one parent, but that child’s best interests still have to come first. Overall, most child psychologists agree that it is actually best for a child’s development if they can see both of their parents. As such, the court is unlikely to give out sole custody simply at the request of the child, unless there is some sort of evidence of abuse or other negative factors.

A complicated custody situation

Determining exactly how custody should be set up can be very complicated for parents and their children. Everyone involved needs to make sure they understand their rights and legal options.