Can a 14 year old have rights to live withtheir momif theirdad has custody over thembutthe motherhas court visitations?

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Can a 14 year old have rights to live withtheir momif theirdad has custody over thembutthe motherhas court visitations?

My dad has custody over me but with 5 other kids and being the oldest all his anger is put off on me. This makes me depressed. I would like to go live with my mom even though she only has visitations.

Asked on January 6, 2012 under Family Law, Kentucky

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Actually, a minor cannot make such a decision. Until they reach turn 18, it is up to the court to decide which parent they should live with. Although I will tell you that once a child turns 12, their input is taken more into consideration by the court. Yet, just because a child expresses which parent they want to live does not mean that it will happen. 

The courts look at what is called "the best interests of the child" in making its determination. Specifically, the court will ask:

  • Is the child mature enough to understand the meaning of changing households and the what will follow the change?
  • Can the child clearly state why they want to live with the other parent (i.e. are their reasons valid)?
  • Would living with the other parent drastically affect the child’s life in either a positive or negative way?
  • Can the non-custodial parent provide stability in the child’s life?
  • Is there an obvious or long-term gain if the child lives with the other parent?

Basically, courts do not like to overturn child custody arrangements once they are set in place. So typically, more than likely a parent won't loose their custody rights unless a court finds them to be in some way an unfit parent. However, the non-custodial parent may be awarded more visitation time.


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