Child custody often becomes most difficult when a child gets to the age that he or she has an opinion. Whether your child is a young teenager or one about to reach adulthood, there is a chance that they will have something to say about any parenting plan or arrangement you set up during a divorce.
As a parent, it is well within your rights to put your foot down and tell your child what is going to happen if it’s in their best interests. However, it is usually in your child’s best interest to have some kind of say once they are old enough to understand what they are doing. For example, a 15-year-old child may wish to live with their Mom or Dad depending on their gender because of puberty. That would be a reasonable request and something that parents should consider carefully.
In court, judges will consider what teenagers have to say in most cases. A teen’s custody preferences as an older teen will likely have more weight than the teen who is very young. The difference is that an older teen should have more independence and freedom; those teens also have better knowledge about how their decisions will affect them and their families.
As a parent with a teen, know that what you say is likely still to carry the most weight, but you should think about what your child wants, too. It’s only a short time until they’ll be old enough to move out themselves, so you want to make the best of this situation together.