How canI legally live with my dad?

UPDATED: Aug 29, 2011

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How canI legally live with my dad?

My mom and dad were never married. And they never went to court about custody or anything like that. I am now 16 and wish to no longer live with my mom. She is not a very fit parent. I’m 16 years old and I am always stressed. I am “forced” by my mother to watch my 2 little half brothers she had with another man. 3 summers in a row I babysat them. My 3 summers ruined. She would never let me do anything. I cook and I clean. My mom calls me very negative names. At time I must admit I’ve wanted to die. And I am tired of my mothers disrespect for me. Can I just leave my moms and live with my dad?

Asked on August 29, 2011 Arizona


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your feelings here and your unhappiness. Take a deep breath.  You can not just go live with your father.  You father would have to file a petition for custody of you and the courts will allow you to testify as to your reasons for wanting to live with your dad and not your mom.  Let me tell you that the courts do not find it valid that the reasons you wish to live with your dad is that your mom is too strict or that she makes you do chores and gives you responsibilities.  Rather it is because you feel that it is an abusive environment (the name calling and degrading and berating) and because you wish to foster a relationship with your father with whom you have never lived.  Listen, it is very hard to become an adult in the house with another adult.  You are now two women living together but your Mom still sees you a a child.  It is hard for her too but that is no excuse for her to treat you badly.  Can you ask someone to help speak with her on your behalf? Otherwise it may be a good idea to take a break and live with your Dad.  Good luck to you.

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