Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

Sep 03, 2022

Going through a divorce can be challenging, especially when it comes to making decisions about your children. Divorcing couples may have concerns about where their children will live and how this is decided upon. Many factors go into deciding which parent a child lives with, and individuals often wonder if children can make that decision themselves. At the Law Offices of Robbins & Licavoli, we’re here to help parents understand how Michigan law designates child living arrangements and how our services can help during this time. 

Can My Child Choose to Live With Me?

Michigan law prohibits children under the age of 18 from deciding who they live with after divorce proceedings. However, the court may consider the preferences of a child if they are at an adequate and mature age, though it’s not specified what this age is. This does not mean that the preferences will be granted, as the court will consider whatever is in the best interests of the child. Michigan courts will always make decisions that ensure the child is safe and properly cared for. 

How Does the Court Decide Who My Child Lives With?

A court will consider several factors in determining who a child should live with, and one factor alone may not be enough to determine living arrangements. Here are some common things that a court might consider when deciding on living arrangments:

  • The Mental and Physical Well-Being of the Parent

Before deciding where a child should live, a court may consider the mental and physical well-being of both parents. If a parent’s health is deemed unfit to care for the child, the other parent may be given custody over the child. For example, if a parent has a life-threatening medical condition that impacts their ability to care for the child, they may not be permitted to live with them. This doesn’t mean the parent has no custody rights associated with their child, but their health may impact their ability to have their child live with them. 

  • Relationships Between Parents and Children

If a child has a closer relationship with one parent, the court may consider allowing the child to remain with that parent. This relationship must align with the child’s best interests, and the court will determine if that relationship will ensure the safety and well-being of the child. Even if a child is closer to one parent than the other, this does not mean they will automatically live with them. 

  • The ability of a Parent to Provide for the Child’s Needs

A court must ensure that whichever parent a child lives with can provide them with basic necessities, including housing, food, and clothing. A parent must demonstrate that they are responsible for these items and can provide them, such as showing proof of a stable income. 

Contact Us Today

If you have questions about your child’s living arrangements after a Michigan divorce, contact our office today. We will assist with your child custody arrangements and ensure you receive proper time with your children.

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