Can your child choose which parent they want to live with?

Child custody issues have a way of cropping up long after a divorce final. It’s no surprise that you’re dealing with a custody issue two years after you initially settled everything. It is a surprise, however, that your child is pushing for a change in residence. They want to go live with their other parent.

Will the court give them that right?

In New Hampshire, there’s no “magic age” that allows minors to choose which parent should have primary physical custody of them.

Instead, the law is flexible, saying only that judges should give a child’s custody preference “substantial weight” whenever there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the child is mature enough to make that kind of decision.

Essentially this means that your child may be able to express their wishes, but you may be able to challenge the wisdom and maturity of the decision. In addition, the court is also obligated to consider all of the other factors that normally go in to custody decisions. The best interests of the child are always most important — even if the child’s wishes are in conflict with those.

Where should you start in this situation?

The odds are high that you have strong feelings about whether your child’s wishes are reasonable. Talking the situation over with a family law attorney can help you better understand what the court may say about it. Child custody issues and issues of support can quickly become complicated, so don’t try to navigate this one on your own.