Can your child ask to live with your ex?

As you go to court to work through your divorce, you know that determining your child custody arrangement is going to be a major part of this process. You’re hopeful that you will get shared custody, which is the norm, and that you will get to spend time with your children.

However, you are worried that one of your children may ask to live exclusively with your ex. Do they have the ability to do this? If they do, is the court going to grant them their wish? Do you have to be concerned about not seeing your child after the divorce?

Wishes may be considered, but are not binding

For children who are old enough that the court feels they can make some of their own decisions and understand what they’re asking for, they may be allowed to express their desire to live with one parent or another, and this may be taken into account. The court wants to do what is best for the child, and considering the child’s happiness is part of this process.

However, it is not the only determining factor that will be considered. If your child says they want to live with your ex, that doesn’t mean the court has to go along with that or that they will They will simply consider the child’s wishes along with things like both parents’ living situations, your backgrounds, your financial situations, your health and all the other things that factor into the child’s best interests overall. Generally speaking, courts assume that shared custody is best.

That being said, it is natural to be concerned about not seeing your children enough, so you need to know what legal steps to take.

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