There may come a time when a child of divorce or separated parents has a desire to live with his or her other parent—the non-custodial parent. This can come as a shock to both the mother and father and is usually accompanied by hurt feelings and loss for the parent whom the child has been living with since the original custody decision. However, it is important to listen to the desire of your child, whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, particularly if your child is at least 14 years of age. The teenage years are a good time to make compromises with your children about living situations because in the long run, this will prevent fallouts from happening when they inevitably leave your and the other parent’s house for good.
Children as Young as 14 Have a Say in Which Parent They Live With
Under 750 ILCS 5/600, a court takes into account the wishes of the child, depending on the “child's maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to decision-making.” This comes at the age of 14 in Illinois. However, simply because a child is 14 or older does not mean that the court will automatically change a custody decision that has been in place for years to meet the child’s wishes.
Best Interest of the Child
If a decision cannot be made outside of the courtroom, a judge will consider all factors pertaining to the child’s best interests. Questions such as the following must be asked:...