When a Child Wants to Live with the Other Parent

IL custody lawyerThere 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:

  • Will moving the child help or harm their education?
  • Will moving the child create a better environment, or will it take the child away from their friends and community?
  • Does the current non-custodial parent have the financial capability, time, and home to accommodate their child?

If moving the child from their mother’s house to their father’s, for example, is in line with the child’s best interest and that is the wish of the child, the court may make that decision. Furthermore, it is less likely that a judge will side with the child’s interests the younger they are. For example, the court is more likely to agree to change the custody decision or parenting plan if the child who wishes to live with the non-custodial parent is 17 instead versus 14.

Call a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney

Here at the Law Offices of Martoccio & Martoccio, we assist custodial and non-custodial parents with creating new parenting plans, making compromises with the other parent, and fighting for our clients’ best interests in court when necessary. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Hinsdale child custody attorneys, call 630-920-8855 today.





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