Ohio Family Lawyer
Here to Fight For You

  1. Home
  2.  – 
  3. Divorce
  4.  – Can a child choose where to live when their parents divorce?

Can a child choose where to live when their parents divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Divorce

Parents understand that divorce can be hard on their children, and they often try to keep things as amicable as possible for their sake. Unfortunately, parents may have a hard time agreeing with one another on key elements of their upcoming divorce proceedings, including matters related to their children.

Parents typically need to share time with their children, financial responsibility for their needs and authority over key decisions for the kids. When parents don’t agree immediately on how to handle custody matters, they may need to take the matter to family court. In some cases, the children themselves may have to weigh in on custody matters.

Does a child get to determine where they live after their parents divorce in Ohio?

Some children have a say in custody matters

People may share information that applies to custody cases in other states but not in Ohio. In some jurisdictions, for example, state statutes set a specific age at which the child’s preferences may begin to influence custody matters. That is not the approach in Ohio. Instead, there is no set age for when a child’s wishes begin to affect custody matters. A judge must look at a child’s age and maturity level when deciding how much weight to give their preferences in the custody proceedings.

Typically, a judge also considers the reasoning behind the preferences that they express. If a child wants to live with one parent because they are more permissive, that may have minimal impact on a judge’s ruling. However, an unhealthy relationship or uncomfortable living arrangements might inspire a judge to more carefully consider the child’s preferences.

That being said, needing to make a statement about personal custody preferences is one of the most damaging requirements of divorce proceedings for minor children. They often become stressed about the prospect of expressing their wishes in court. Children often worry that their preferences could harm the bond that they have with their parents. Therefore, it is often preferable for the adults in the family to handle custody matters on their own without involving the children whenever possible.

Those who understand Ohio’s approach to contested custody proceedings can prepare themselves and their children for the process. Parents may be able to settle the matter without involving their children. But, if they can’t, letting children know that their preferences are only one of many considerations and not the sole determining factor might help them feel less anxious about the prospect of expressing their wishes in family court.