Elkouri Heath, PLC


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Can My Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?

 Posted on October 13, 2023 in Family Law

MI custody lawyerWhile a child does not get to decide which parent to live with, courts can take a child’s preferences into account. Michigan child custody laws require judges to consider a variety of factors in order to determine what type of custody arrangement would be best for the child. The law is very clear that all decisions regarding child custody are to be made based on the child’s best interests. What a child wants may be important in making this decision. If a child is adamant that they want to live with one parent, forcing them to live with the other might not be good for the child. However, courts are also aware that children do not always know what is best for them. Your attorney can help you understand how your child’s wishes may play a role in the court’s decision. 

The Role of a Child’s Wishes in Parenting Time Decisions

How much weight the court may give a child’s preferences depends on several things. First, the child’s age matters. Very young children do not have the life skills needed to make a good decision about which household would be better for them. Older children may know which parent they get along with better and who is more involved in their lives. Courts will also consider how reasonable the child’s preferences are. Children often want to live with the “fun” parent who gives them more freedom, whether that freedom is good for the child or not. 

Another reason children cannot decide their own custody cases is that children are susceptible to being manipulated by a parent. One parent may try to bribe or coerce the child into living with them full-time. This is why courts do not always take every child’s word regarding their preferences at face value. There is a lot more that goes into deciding child custody cases. 

Other Child Custody Factors

Courts consider many other factors when deciding child custody arrangements. Other important factors include the emotional ties between the child and each parent, the moral fitness of each parent, and how well each parent is able to care for the child. No one factor is the single most important. Courts look at the whole picture, considering all factors. 

Contact a Novi, MI, Child Custody Lawyer

Elkouri Heath, PLC is committed to helping divorcing parents maintain the best possible relationship with their children. Our caring Oakland County child custody attorneys will do all we can to maximize your parenting time. Contact us at 248-344-9700 for a complimentary consultation. 

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