Search Site
Menu
Can Minor Children Choose Where to Live?

Many people are under the impression that a magic age exists at which a minor child can decide with whom to live. In Illinois, as in most other states, the physical custody of a child is determined by the court according to what is in the child’s best interest. If an older child requests to change houses, a judge can take certain measures to determine if the move would be positive for the child.

A judge considers a child’s petition

When considering the petition of a young child, a judge considers these factors:

  • Child’s maturity — If the child seems capable of considering the implications of the move as opposed to just the benefits
  • Whether one parent is opposed to the change — If the opposition would create added tension between the parents or between the parents and the child
  • Parent’s ability to provide for the child — If the noncustodial parent is able to provide a stable, child-friendly home without causing excessive travel to school or disruption in the child’s routine
  • Child’s relationship with each parent — If the child would benefit from living with the noncustodial parent while maintaining consistent contact with the other parent

In most cases involving children under the age of 12 or 13, the judge will appoint a third party to observe the parents and report on the child’s behalf. If the child is older, the judge may be more inclined to also interview the child in chambers to determine why the child is making the request.

Who determines the outcome?

Many judges prefer not to interfere with the issue of residency of children. There is a common belief among family court judges that it is preferable for parents to decide where the children should live and not leave such an important decision to a third party. In cases where abuse, neglect, or emotional manipulation is present in one household, the advocacy of a third party can be invaluable.

As a general rule, children do not testify in court, especially against their parents. If your family requires assistance with a custody or primary residence issue, speak to a child custody attorney.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Paul Chatzky Attorney Photo
Paul Chatzky
Founder

About Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As…

Deborah E. Chatzky Attorney Photo
Deborah E. Chatzky
Paralegal

About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

Client Reviews
  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Mr. Chatzky is very responsive, ethical and effective. I’m extremely happy with the service and I would highly recommend this law office to anyone seeking legal help

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Mr. Chatzky is truly superb at his job. His knowledge base is profound, and he approached my situation with honesty and integrity. I knew immediately that he had every intention to obtain the best outcome for me and that he had thought of every possi...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    I highly recommend Paul Chatzky as a high capable and honest attorney who genuinely cares about his clients and is highly committed to supporting their best interests. He lived up to the high expectations that I had and was willing as hard as me to m...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Paul Chatzky is always very responsive, professional, and a pleasure to work with.

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    I unreservedly recommend Paul Chatzky's legal services. I have utilized Paul’s services personally and referred many of my clients to Paul. He has consistently provided knowledgeable, accurate and concise advice on business start-up, leases, cont...

    Read more

    Client

See all reviews
AWARDS
Contact us

Quick Contact Form