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Penguin1313

children's preference

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My child just turned 15 and has lived with me full time for his whole life. His father and I have not had a legal custody agreement through the courts just a mutual agreement that we decided together. My child has basically spent every other weekend with his father and several weeks at a time during the summer. Two years ago we tried a different arrangement where he spend two weeks at his dads house then two weeks at my house all while still going to and from school from both households. His behavior has changed and his grades have gone down but his desire to see his father more made me agree to continue to keep it the same. He now is fighting with me to stay with his dad full time saying that now that he is older he can choose where he wants to live. My question is does a child have a right to dictate which parent he can live?

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19 hours ago, Penguin1313 said:

He now is fighting with me to stay with his dad full time saying that now that he is older he can choose where he wants to live.

 

Needless to say, a 15 year old has no business lecturing an adult about the law.

 

 

19 hours ago, Penguin1313 said:

My question is does a child have a right to dictate which parent he can live?

 

Of course not.

 

You didn't say, but I'm going to assume that you and the father were never married.  If that's correct, then the following is relevant:  When a child is born to an unmarried woman, no man has any parental rights until and unless paternity is established and the court issues an order that allocates parental rights between the mother and father.  Since you wrote that no such order exists, it appears that you have all parental rights and the father has none.  And, of course, your child does not get to decide where he lives until he becomes an adult.

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Hi @Penguin1313

 

Welcome to the community! Thanks for your question. As pg mentioned, the answer to your question will depend on if paternity was ever established in your case, or if you and your son's father were ever married. Although you did not previously have a written custody order, it sounds as if you may need one now. As other posters have mentioned, a minor child cannot "decide" which parent to live with, however, once a child reaches an appropriate age and maturity, the family court will take into account the child's wishes among other factors when making a custody and visitation determination.

 

Best of luck and let us know if you have additional questions.

The FindLaw.com Team

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Be very careful I strongly recommend you and the farther try to work this out of court first. Typically if he gets a lawyer it will get nasty and the child will hold considerable weight in court I don't know why some here pretend it means little to nothing. Teenagers can make the courts life extremely inconvenient, DNA testing will be ordered to get paternity and then they can make false claims against you to get an edge. The teenager might call cps on you too,  not trying to scare you but maybe the child would be better off with the father unless a better arrangement can be made. 

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16 hours ago, Chavito said:

the child will hold considerable weight in court I don't know why some here pretend it means little to nothing.

 

No one "pretends" any such thing.  First of all, what I wrote previously was that a child does not have a right to dictate with which parent he will live.  If you think that's not correct, feel free to cite legal authority that supports your contention.  When it comes to a court battle between the parents, the court will consider the child's preference and the reasons behind that preference.  Whether the child's preference holds "considerable weight" depends on the applicable state law and the reasons for the preference. For example, if the child wants to live with dad because dad doesn't make the child do homework and lets the child sit around playing video games all the time, then the child's preference will generally be disregarded. One thing that is given great weight is that the child "has lived [primarily] with [one parent] full time for his whole life."

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