I Want to Live with My Mom but I Have Shared Custody With My Dad. What Do I Do? Can I at 15?

This question is literally asked on a daily basis. It comes up so often. But that means it’s a burning question. I’ll bet it has been answered literally at least a million times online. So, search the internet to get a general idea of the consensus as to the answer to your question. In a nutshell, my answer is as follows:

I cannot answer your question as it applies in all jurisdictions, but as it applies in the jurisdiction where I practice divorce and family law (Utah), there is no statutory provision that gives children an absolute right to choose with which parent they will reside or that gives children the right to dictate what kind of schedule they will follow when it comes to how much time they spend with each parent (I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the law in every jurisdiction in the United states, but again I don’t know that, so you’d have to find out what the law in your particular jurisdiction is, to be certain).

That stated, there comes a point in almost every child’s life when he or she reaches a point of minimal autonomy and independence that places the child outside the practicable control of his or her parent when it comes to where the child lives and whether the child will follow the court ordered custody and parent time schedules. This does not mean that the child’s refusal to comply with the custody and parent time schedules is “legal”. Indeed, while some would argue that custody and parent time schedules are binding upon the parents but not necessarily upon their children, even if they were, courts find it more than a little awkward and embarrassing, if and when they try to force a minor child to comply with the court ordered custody and parent time schedules. It’s a bad look when a court penalizes a child in this way. Parents who know this will this not ask the courts for help because all that usually ends up doing is costing the parents a lot of money in a futile attempt to get the court to do either what it refuses to do or cannot do successfully.

Bottom line: while my answer to your question should not be taken as an endorsement of what children who won’t comply with custody and parent time orders can get away with, the undeniable truth of the matter is that when teenagers are old enough to take mom or dad in a fight if they try to force them into the car to go over to the other parents house, when children are old enough (yet still foolish enough) to run away from home and stay hidden for a sufficiently frightening/concerning period of time, most reasonable parents conclude that this is a battle they cannot (and perhaps should not) be fighting because it is likely a battle they cannot win (or if they can win it, it is often a Pyrrhic victory).

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Eric Johnson’s answer to I want to live with my mom but I have shared custody with my dad. What do I do? Can I at 15? – Quora

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