Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

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Every child wants to have a complete and happy family. Childhood is an important phase in a person’s life because it will largely influence his or her adult life. However, not all children have complete families. For one, a lot of these families have to consult child support lawyers to settle their child visitation and financial support issues.

Living in an “incomplete” family can be hard for a child. It can affect his or her well-being and even bring along some of that resentment in adulthood. Their situation can also be burdensome for parents and seeing how it has affected their children. Divorce may be the better solution and consulting the best divorce lawyers is the first step towards that peace of mind.

But how will the child fare about this kind of domestic situation? Can he or she choose which parent to live with? If not, what can be the best arrangement that will benefit all parties?

Can a child choose where to live?

If the child is a minor (below 18 years old), he or she cannot legally choose which parent to live with. Many parents think that their children can have the legal right to choose where to live, even if they’re only 14 or 15. They are still considered not of legal age.

The decision will be based on the parent’s capability to raise the child responsibly in all aspects. But the court can still consider the child’s concern. In the end, the court will have the power to decide as long as it deemed for the child’s best interest. Family lawyers can also help make a sound parenting plan for your children.

But to make a parenting plan work, both parents should settle their difference for their child’s sake. They can undergo counseling or consulting health personnel to make the adjustment period less stressful for both parties.

Parents may do everything to influence their children to side with them. On the other hand, it can cause stress on the child and create guilt for the other parent the child won’t choose. However, this should not be the case. Rather, it is important to make decisions for the child and not for your own benefit.

Defining child custody

Child custody is defined as a parent or a guardian’s legal right to take care of a child in all aspects of his or her life. The parent or guardian is given legal rights to make decisions that will deem beneficial for the child’s welfare. This includes giving the child a safe home to live in and given financial and emotional support.

Under legal custody, the parent or legal guardian can make decisions for the child (below 18). This includes the child’s educational, medical, religious, and other aspects of his or her life.

Meanwhile, physical custody refers to the child’s living arrangements and who takes care of him/her. Some parents are given joint custody over their children. Sometimes, the court grants custody to only one parent.

However, it depends on the circumstances. It depends on the parent’s financial, mental, and emotional capabilities to raise the child. In other words, the court will decide what it deems to serve the child’s best interest. Family lawyers will help you settle issues with child welfare and other arrangements following the divorce.

Sole vs. shared custody

Speaking of custody, it has two types – sole and shared. Divorce lawyers can help you understand how it works and how it can affect your family arrangement.

Sole custody refers both to physical and legal custody over the child. It will be decided by the court, which means the decision is already final. It also means that the sole custodian will be mainly responsible in deciding for the child’s welfare without consulting the other parent. However, the other parent can still see the child and provide support depending on the court’s decision.

On the other hand, joint or shared custody is when both parents are awarded custody over their child. Both parents will also have responsibility for the child’s physical and legal welfare. Child support lawyers will help you create a parenting plan, and then will agreed upon as per court’s decision.

Let the best legal professionals help you

For your legal concerns, you can find top rated divorce lawyers to assist you. Contact a family lawyer in Alexandria VA today for a free consultation.

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