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

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2012

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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