As children of divorce enter their teen years, they may want to spend more time with one parent over another. They may express their wish to live with a non-custodial parent or refuse to go back and forth between the two households as part of a visitation arrangement. Parents often ask, can my child decide which parent to Live with?
Changes in Child Custody
Many parents may think they have little choice but to let their older child make his or her own decisions and are often surprised to hear that, regardless of their child’s developing maturity, minor children do not have the legal right to decide which parent to live with. While an older child’s preference can be taken into consideration, changing the parenting time arrangements may or may not be in their best interest.
It is important to look at the overall picture before making any decisions
- Sometimes, a child may want to live with a parent because they are perceived to be more lenient. Less rules, less responsibility and fewer obligations to participate in activities such as church or family gatherings may hold an appeal for some teens, but it may not serve their needs.
- Other times, a child might prefer to live with a parent who offers more support by helping them to participate in extracurricular activities or coordinating social events so a child has an opportunity to see friends and family regularly, alienating the other parent.
- There may be a remarriage, where a child has come under the influence of step siblings that may be not have a positive impact on your child, such as in cases where teen drug or alcohol use is in question. It may also be that your child is not giving the new couple a fair shake, disrupting the once-solid relationship with their parent.
Differing parenting styles and living environments may influence your older child to favor one situation over another when both may beneficial to their development and well-being. Other times, the approach of one parent or the living arrangement may not be in a teen’s best interest. It is important to communicate with your child and make thoughtful decisions on their behalf.
Libertyvlle Child Custody Dispute Lawyer
Ideally, divorced parents will be able to work together to make their child’s transition into young adulthood successful and both maintain an active role in his or her life. However, divorced parents of teens who are not able to work together may want to seek the help of an experienced family law attorney who can make changes to your custody and visitation agreement that will ensure that your teenager’s best interests are the priority.
Contact and Experienced Illinois Family Law Attorney for Help
If you have questions regarding making changes to an Illinois parenting time agreement (aka physical custody and visitation) or the allocation of parental responsibilities (legal custody), contact the Libertyville, Illinois Family Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell P.C. for assistance today.