Can My Child Choose Who They Live With After a Divorce?

In our experience working with parents as they navigate child custody and child support agreements, we have realized that a lot of misconceptions exist about the laws concerning child custody arrangements.

One such misconception is a child’s right to choose who they live with. Some parents assume that, after a certain age, their child can make the decision about their primary residence after a divorce.

The truth is, as your child is still legally a minor, you and their other parent are responsible for making the decisions about where they will live and how their time will be split between parents. In a case in which the parents are not in agreement, a judge will assist in making the decision but technically, children do not have a legal right to an opinion in this area.

In many states, however, this can become a gray area, especially since the legal standard is to make the decision based on the best interests of the children involved in the divorce. Since the judge is ultimately responsible for making the final decision in a custody agreement, they may choose to take into account the preferences of the child depending on their age and the exact circumstances of your divorce. Your child may be asked to testify, and may be lead to believe he or she has power in this life altering decision.

The ambiguity of a child’s involvement in settling on a custody arrangement can create tension and difficulty for both parents involved. The child may not have a full understanding of what is best for them, and one parent may try to sway the child in their favor.

Because of this, it is important to hire an attorney who will help you fight for a decision that is truly in the best interest of your child. The judge in your case is expected to make their choice based on the evidence presented, and an experienced attorney can help you gather evidence and prepare a convincing argument for your case.

If you are negotiating a child custody agreement and you live in Salem, Oregon or the surrounding areas, Contact us or call 503-315-7344 to learn more about working with an experienced divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Lindsay Soto.