• What happens to me if my parents get a divorce?

    Date: 08.16.07 | by Judge Tom.

    If your parents get a divorce, it doesn′t mean that they′re no longer your parents, or that they no longer love you. Children are not the cause of their parents′ divorce—and they have no reason to feel guilty or blame themselves.

    If your parents have divorced and you feel guilty about it, get help so you can work things out in your life. Contact a school counselor, who may recommend that you talk to a trained professional. Or let your mother or father know that the divorce is bothering you, and you need help dealing with it.

    Can your parents force you to go to counseling if you′re troubled by divorce (or any other issue)? Yes. They can arrange for the whole family to attend counseling, or individual counseling for one or two of you. Since you have little choice but to go, keep an open mind. It may seem awkward at first, but you′ll soon find yourself opening up and feeling better. Relationship issues don′t happen overnight, and healing also takes time. Talk with your friends and you′ll see that you′re not alone in your thoughts, fears, and concerns.

    Photo by Umjanedoan

    If your parents get a divorce, decisions have to be made that directly affect you. You may have questions like ”Do I have to move?,” “ Will I be separated from my brothers and sisters?,” or ”Will I get to see the parent I don′t live with?” A court may help your parents with these decisions and, depending on your age, you may be asked for your opinion on what you want to happen.

    A lawyer may be appointed to represent you if your parents don′t agree on visitation issues or where you should live. Tell your lawyer exactly what you feel about these issues and why. This is the only way to be sure your wishes will be considered by the judge before a decision is made.

    Although the ultimate question in each divorce case is “What is in the child′s best interests?” states don′t follow the same laws in determining the answer. Some states give preference to the desires of the child, others don′t. Some appoint lawyers or guardians to speak for the children, others don′t.

    In most cases, though, the results are the same, since “best interests” is the goal in all jurisdictions. Both parents are considered in custody disputes— those that concern which parent you′ll live with. In the past, the law tended to support automatic custody with the mother, but today fathers are often given custody of their children.

    Courts grant either sole custody to one parent, or joint or shared custody to both parents. In a sole custody situation, you′ll live with one of your parents and visit the other (for example,on weekends,holidays, and during the summer). If your noncustodial parent lives out of state, you may spend all or part of the summer with that parent. The same is true for your brothers and sisters. Courts try to keep the children in a family together. If siblings are split up, arrangements may be made for frequent contact and visits.

    custodydenied

    Photo by Alex-S (Flickr)

    Joint or shared custody requires both parents to agree on the living arrangements of the children. It allows both parents to share legal and physical custody of you and your brothers and sisters, with an even split of time and responsibilities throughout the year. You may live with your mother during the school year, and with your father during the summer and holidays. Or, if your parents live close by, especially in the same school district, you may alternate weeks or months at each parent′s home.

    The rule in custody situations should be whatever works out best for all of you. Be sure to speak up and let your parents know how you feel about the arrangements. Whatever is decided, give it a try for a period of time. If you feel strongly one way or the other, tell your parents. It′s best to get your feelings out in the open. Speaking up may help change things. You′ll also be helping your siblings if they feel the same way but are afraid to say anything.

    If you’re unable to talk to anyone about the divorce and custody issues, check out the self-help sections at the library or book store. You′ll find books and pamphlets written especially for children and teens that will help to answer some of your questions. Check one out—and consider confiding in a friend or relative.

    Update: A U.S. Census report released in August, 2011 shows an increase in divorce rates over the past fifty years with a high correlation between poverty and divorce. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44308315/ns/business-personal_finance/?gt1=43001

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    215 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Arlene
      Sat, 12 Jan 2008 at 11:23

      WHAT IF I WANT TO LIVE WITH MY DAD BUT MY MOM HAS CUSTODY??

      I’m 12 turning 13 in September and I’ve decided to live with my dad. My mom said that i can go she is agreeing. Where would we have the court my dad lives in Houston, Texas and my mom lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. How much would the court be? Would it be a hard and long court?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Arlene – it’s good that your parents agree to your move to your Dad’s home – the court that placed custody with your Mom needs to approve the change before you leave the state for Dad’s house in Texas – since they agree, it shouldn’t take long to obtain court approval and it shouldn’t be expensive either since there’s no argument over the change of residence. Your parents can talk with their lawyers if they have one, or ask the court by letter for assistance. Many courts have self-help centers to assist in this situation. Good luck and all the best.

    • Kelly
      Wed, 05 Mar 2008 at 12:36

      my parents are getting a divorce. I am 16 years old, I will be 17 at the end of September 2008. Do I have a say legally in which parent I want to live with?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Great question, Kelly. At your age, in most states you would have a say in where you live following your parents’ divorce. But every state differs in how custody and visitation issues are determined. I suggest asking a trusted adult for information to help you, or contact your school or a public librarian to lead you to the laws that apply in your area. All the best, Kelly.

    • amanda
      Thu, 01 May 2008 at 12:27

      hi. im 13 years old turning 14 in November. my parents have been separated since i was two years old. I’ve been living with my mom, but i want to live with my dad now. my mom wont let me but my dad wants me to. i hardly ever get to see my dad and my two brothers that live with him. i dont like living with my mom. we always argue and she always hits me. what do i do?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      The best approach, Amanda, is to sit down with both parents and tell them how you feel about your living situation. Be honest with them, state your reasons, and maybe they’ll come to an agreement about changing homes. As you get older, your feelings and opinions carry more weight. Good luck.

    • Veronica W.
      Fri, 30 May 2008 at 11:33

      My parents haven’t seen each other for about 2 years. My mom went to Iraq for contracting work and they stopped talking on some very bad terms. My father’s in the military and last July he was put on assignment to go to Iraq. Well, my mom wants me to come visit her this summer but my uncle (who’s my guardian right now) said he wouldn’t let me go without my dad’s permission. Nobody can get in touch with my dad and I’ve sent him at least 50 emails about it. Its kind of suspicious because my grandmother talked to him last week and i haven’t spoken to him for about a month. It makes me think that he’s ignoring my emails. Well my mom got mad and said that she’s gonna get an attorney and file for a divorce. I told her that I want to stay with my dad when he comes back this October to Washington State. She told me that I need to cooperate with her and pretty much “forced” me to agree that I would live with her when she comes back this summer. She had me seriously crying over this because even though I don’t want to stay with her she said “meeting new people is a good thing. you should WANT to stay with me”. I REALLY don’t want to move to anywhere but Washington but she just won’t listen to me. I don’t know what to do. Please help!

      Judge Tom’s response:
      You didn’t mention your age which makes a difference in deciding custody and visitation if your parents do get a divorce. Many courts will listen to kids over a certain age, usually 12 or 14. If you get that opportunity, make sure you tell the judge or your lawyer or guardian [including your uncle] what you think is best for you. All the best, Veronica.

    • Kate
      Sat, 13 Sep 2008 at 10:36

      I am 13 right now and i really dont want to live with my dad, visit him, will i get a say in how living arrangments are?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Depending on the laws of your state, Kate, you may have a chance to speak with the judge about your wishes. If you are appointed a lawyer, tell him or her what you want. As you get older, you have more say about custody and visitation. Good luck.

    • Tina
      Tue, 28 Oct 2008 at 04:41

      We have a soon 2 be 12 year old girl. Her mother is on a domestic partner relationship and she was told that they will be getting married on 11-4-08 ( CA).

      She does have minors cousel and she has spoken with about not wanting to go to mom’s “Lesbian” church and does not feel she should marry. We currently have 50-50 alternating every other Friday. Will the childs attorney do what she is asking? To not be forced to go a church she does not feel comfortable in and to stay with us until her mother and partner have relsolved thier issues of to marry or not>?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Tina: As your stepdaughter [?] gets older, courts will be more inclined to listen to her positions on issues of custody, visitation, school choices, religion, etc. Since she has a lawyer, as you indicated, she should be encouraged to confide in him or her regarding the latest family developments. There are no guarantees regarding the results, but she should be given the opportunity to speak with a professional and voice her opinions. This is a difficult time for her – you and her dad need to be there to listen to her views and to encourage tolerance of her mother’s decisions. All the best.

    • stephanie
      Tue, 04 Nov 2008 at 08:56

      dear judge, my parents are getting a divorce and i want to live with my grandparents,(from my mom’s side) wich is in another country..(mexico) do you think its possible?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Hi, Stephanie. Thanks for writing. It is possible for you to live with your grandparents, but it depends on a few things: your age, whether your grandparents are willing and able to care for you, and your parents’ position on this. Talk with them and tell them how you feel and why. You may not need to go to court about this unless the adults involved can’t reach an agreement. If you end up in court, the judge will look at what is in your best interests. If you’re over 10 or 12-years-old, depending on your state’s law, you may be able to talk with the judge and express your opinion. Good luck, Stephanie.

    • Milan
      Mon, 19 Jan 2009 at 06:56

      I NEED TO LIVE WITH MY DAD!!!

      my parents just got divorced. my dad wanted full custody of me(14) and split custody of my sister(10). My mom wanted full custody of us both. I wanted to live with my dad, and my sister with my mom. we went to several phsycological evaluations. and they gave full custody to my mom. my dad lives in houston texas and we live in michigan. i dont want him to move back because there is no work. my mom is very unreasonable, what can i do to reverse my moms custody and live with my dad full time in texas?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Milan: You won’t like this answer but facing the facts is always best. Since the court has already made its decision, there’s little you can do at the moment. Most courts won’t reconsider this type of situation again for at least one year. Even after a year, there must be a substantial change of circumstances for the court to rehear the case. If you were being abused or seriously neglected to the point where you were in danger, then a review would be appropriate. Otherwise, you have to make the best of it. We suggest that you try to calmly discuss the situation with both parents. If your mom understands how unhappy you are living with her, maybe she’ll reconsider, especially as you get older. It’s usually better for everyone involved if you can avoid turning this into a legal battle. You may also benefit from talking with someone outside your family – someone objective and non-judgmental. All the best.

    • Paige
      Wed, 11 Mar 2009 at 10:49

      my names Paige and im 16 going on 17 this december.
      my parents keep trying to work things out between them but never works always arguments, me my mum and my little sister live in turkey but i normaly come from england my mum wants me to stay with her but i want to live with my dad in england. please help me.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Hello, Paige. Unless there is some legal basis for your parents custody and visitation case to be decided in Turkey, the laws of your home country [England] probably will be looked to. Because you are almost 17, you may have a say about which parent you wish to live with. We are not able to provide specific legal advice in foreign or domestic [United States] matters but only suggest possible solutions to your concerns. Try talking with both parents about your wishes and why you want to live with your dad. Oftentimes, a calm approach to these sensitive subjects brings positive results. All the best to you and your sister.

    • Paige
      Thu, 12 Mar 2009 at 02:09

      Hello its Paige again thankyou for your letter, i have talked to my parents about the situation and told them my faults and my dad dont mind me coming england but my mum will be broken hearted she says i can only visit. at the moment my dad is still staying with us but soon he will be going back to england and im scared because i dont want him to go back because i wont get to see him often as i would like to.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Hi Paige. We’re glad you spoke with your parents and let them know how you feel about who you want to live with. Whether you live with your Mom or Dad, you can stay in touch with the other by email, text, or any social networking site. The world is much smaller today thanks to electronic devices, so you’re never really out of touch with your parents or friends. Plus you can add photos as you wish and so can they. Keep this in mind, Paige and, again, all the best.

    • Britney
      Tue, 17 Mar 2009 at 10:58

      What if I am the cause of my parent’s divorce?
      My dad has told me that he never wanted CHILDREN.
      He makes me so mad that I say “you should’ve worn a RUBBER, DUDE!!!”

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Britney: Thanks for writing. We don’t know the facts about your family, but chances are you are NOT the cause of your parent’s divorce. What happens between two married adults is not caused by their children. It is their responsibility to raise you with love and attention, not blame their issues on you. If they’re open to counseling, it sounds like it wouldn’t hurt either of them. You might also look to a school counselor for help with what’s going on, or ask one of your parents to get you into counseling to help you deal with your challenges. We all need someone every now and then to give us a guiding hand. All the best, Britney.

    • Jasmine
      Mon, 23 Mar 2009 at 02:15

      Im 14 now and my parents want a divore. I really have a lot I would like to say to someone but I dont really want to talk to adults at my school. I would talk with friends, but all of them have divorced parents. When I do talk with them it makes me feel like im a whiner because they’ve never talked to anyone about their parents divorce.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Jasmine – thanks for reaching out to us with your question. If you aren’t comfortable talking with your parents about your concerns regarding their divorce, how about a close relative? It’s important that you have someone you trust to open up to. We all need someone to confide in every now and then – age doesn’t make any difference. Or maybe a close friend or his or her parents – is that possible? Even if they haven’t opened up to anyone about their situation, they might appreciate your openess and it could help them as well. Just don’t keep everything inside – communication is a form of therapy that helps in the healing process. Good luck, Jasmine.

    • Janet Grimme
      Fri, 01 May 2009 at 09:35

      My nephew is 16 1/2 yrs. old and lives in Nevada. His parents have been divorced for around 7 yrs and have shared custody of him and his 2 brothers. He told his mom and dad that he really wants to live with his mother and stop going back and forth from house to house. He told his dad that he is very miserable and unhappy when he is at his house, stating many good reasons: talking badly all the time about his mother and others, being scared to talk to his dad (his disowned one daughter from a previous marriage) and has threatened to disown him too. It is really an emotionally abusive home. His dad already told him that he will fight in court and make sure that he can’t leave. What are his options in Nevada? Would he be able to talk to a judge and explain to him how he feels?

      Thanks,
      Janet

      Judge Tom’s response:

      As you may know, each state has its own laws regarding custody and visitation. The laws differ about the age when a minor may have a say about which parent he or she wants to live with. Your nephew needs to talk with a trusted adult that knows Nevada law or can refer him to the right person. Maybe his school counselor can help or a local community legal services. A phone call or a brief visit with a family lawyer may be free. Since he is 16 he may have the right to speak his mind but may also have to wait until he’s 18 before he actually decides what to do. Good luck.

    • Cierra
      Tue, 19 May 2009 at 09:20

      Hello,
      Im Cierra (13) i live in Virginia, My parents have been separated since i was in PreK. I’ve been living with my dad since then. My little Brother (9) has too. I think both my parents have joint custody of us. But then again since i live with dad he has the main one. (where he decides what happens) my little brother wants to stay with my dad and I want to live with my mom even since i was small i wanted to live with my her but my dad wont let me. Since im old enough now can i speak up for myself and go to a judge about this. Does it take long for them to see where i should go? Could i tell them Specifically why and what happens? (my dad rarely even comes here. i actually live with my grandma) which isn’t right if dad has the main custody.
      PLEASE HELP!!!
      thanks:)

      Judge Tom’s Response:
      Hello, Cierra. Rather than think first about going to court and talking with a judge, how about sitting down with your dad and grandmother and discussing your living situation. Lawsuits and court battles should be a last resort. As you get older, your opinions matter and should be heard. Explain yourself to your family – it could work in your favor. All the best.

    • Cierra
      Wed, 20 May 2009 at 02:30

      Hello again, its me Cierra.
      (thanks for the previous letter!!)
      My dad keeps telling me the same thing. “i am not going anywhere until i turn 18″ I dont want to live with him anymore!:’( trust me, if you went through the same things i go through you’d probably feel the same way . dad claims that it would hurt my grandmother if I left. Really, she doesn’t matter at the moment and plus she still has my little brother.. its about my living conditions and how things are in my life, right? I mean they treat me horrible! I get beat, yelled at, behind yelling àCURSiNG.! OH MY GOSH!!!! Do you think i could just move in with my mom?

      Judge Tom’s Response:
      Cierra – if you’re in any danger of being physically or sexually abused, contact Child Protective Services. There are also Helplines and Hotlines you can call for assistance. By just up and leaving for your Mom’s home, you may be violating a court order of custody. That may result in runaway charges against you and possibly juvenile detention. If the bottom line is that you just want out because it’s not the best situation, but you’re not in any danger, you may have to stick it out until you’re 18. Consider all of your options before acting.

    • Cierra
      Thu, 21 May 2009 at 10:51

      Hi again.
      its Cierra. What may happen when i call child protective services? do you think they will put me with mom? i really want to live with her by summer!

      Judge Tom’s response:
      When a report is made to CPS, it is their job to investigate and decide what’s in your best interest. They may take no action if your situation doesn’t merit intervention [abuse or neglect]. Their duties are very serious and aimed at protecting kids – but not getting involved in custody disagreements or minor parental disciplinary incidents. Good luck.

    • Alisha
      Thu, 28 May 2009 at 05:07

      Hi, my parents have been somewhat seperated for a little while now and it doesn’t look like its getting any better. I recently just turned 18 and I wanted to be sure of something. If my parents divorce do I have the right to choose who I want to live with or whether I want to live on my own? I live in the state of Florida. Also my 15 year old brother would be involved does he have a choice?

      Thanks for your time.

      Judge Tom’s Response:
      Dear Alisha: Since you are 18, under the law of your state you are most likely considered an adult. Check that out, however, with the police or at the library. You may be emancipated by reason of your age. That means you can choose where and with whom to live. If you’re financially dependent on your parents, they may require that you live at home. As far as your brother, since he’s 15, he is still a minor and subject to the rules of your parents. Good luck.

    • Alisha
      Sat, 30 May 2009 at 08:47

      Ok, Thank you so much.

    • Brett
      Wed, 03 Jun 2009 at 09:45

      My mother and father got a divorce many years ago, and now my mom lives in Illinois and my Dad lives in Virgina, while I live in Georgia with my grandparents. Do my grandparents have legal custody of me since neither of my parents live in the state of Georgia or even the Southeast for that matter

      Judge Tom’s Response:
      Good question, Brett. Whether your grandparents have legal custody of you depends on the court orders issued when your parents got divorced. Or any orders by the court after the divorce. One of your parents or your grandparents should have the answer. They probably have copies of the court documents. There could also be a guardianship over you by your grandparents until you turn 18. Where you and your family live, even if in three states, doesn’t change the orders of the court. Good luck.

    • john delanny
      Fri, 05 Jun 2009 at 06:51

      I am 8 years old. My father was physically and verbaly abusive to me. He has one hour a week visitation with me in an open restaurant. I dont want to go he pushes me and makes fun of me. Can I get a lawyer of my own to help me?

      Judge Tom’s Response:
      John, at this point don’t worry about getting a lawyer. You need to tell someone you trust about what’s going on, like your Mom or grandparent. Let them know how you feel and why. Whoever has legal custody of you has the responsibility to see that you’re safe at all times.

    • Trey
      Sun, 21 Jun 2009 at 03:41

      Me and my sister used to live with my mom and dad, but they got a divorce and gave custody of us to my grandparents a long time ago. I’m turning 15 in a few days and my sister’s 19 and living on her own. Can my dad legally take custody of me wether my grandparents want him to or not? Because I WANT to live with my dad and I want to know if my grandparents have a choice or not. I’m hoping they don’t; I’d much rather live with my dad. We’re in Texarkana, Texas.

      Judge Tom’s Response:
      Trey, your question describes the situation for a lot of teens. Whether your grandparents have a say in who you live with depends on court orders, if they exist at all, and what they say. In most states, if your grandparents have legal guardianship, your dad can’t just remove you without your grandparent’s consent or a change in the court order granting the guardianship. If there’s no court order, he may be able to resume custody of you without going to court. A more specific answer depends on your state’s laws about custody and guardianship. Good luck.

    • Victoria
      Mon, 29 Jun 2009 at 10:23

      I am 16 years old and i am from new york. i am living with my dad. My mom is trying to take me back with her to florida and i still want to stay with my dad. She told me that i have no choice. But my dad wants me still living with him. I have 2 years left of high school and if she tries to move me to florida she will mess up my education. Can i have a choice in this situation for whom i want to live with.?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Victoria:
      Whether you have a say in where you live [which parent] depends on the court orders that exist at this time regarding your custody. If your Mom has legal custody, the order may be changed if your parents agree, or if a court decides it’s in your best interests to be with your Dad. Try to work this out with your parents rather than get involved in a court battle that will leave scars on all of you. All the best.

    • Hannah
      Thu, 02 Jul 2009 at 10:07

      I’m 13 and living in Virginia and my parents have a joint custody arrangement (my mom has physical custody). I go to my dad’s every other weekend and one evening a week. The only problem is I don’t want to go. I feel like going back and forth is keeping me from just being able to have a home, plus I want to just go to church with my mom and my dad gets upset if I ask to go with her on his weekends. I don’t like being at his house because it feels like an interruption to my life and a waste of my time. Talking to my dad about any of this makes him get very “It’s not your choice; my time with you is very important.” How old to I have to be to decide for my self not to visit him? I wouldn’t even mind visiting him if I could just be officially in my mom’s custody and go or leave when I want to.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      At this time, Hannah, it’s best that you accept the arrangement your parents have made for your visits and custody. At age 13, most states leave these decisions to the parents and the court steps in only when there’s a need to, or if a child is in danger. Don’t keep your feelings to yourself, though. Let both parents know how you feel and why. Life means change, and today’s schedule may be different tomorrow or as you get older. Good luck.

    • Megan
      Fri, 03 Jul 2009 at 09:24

      I am 16 years old and I have a younger brother that is 11. My parents have been seperated for a good 6 or 7 years now. I go ever other weekend to spend with my father, but only because my mother forces me to. I much rather not go at all. My brother has no problem going to visit him. My mother thinks that if I do not go to see him, he is going to cut her off on child support, the little money that he does give her monthly. They do not have a set child support amount because they have not recieved a divorce nor went to court for child support and custody. I live in California as well. Am I forced to go see my father, or can I have the say so? Please help.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Since there are no court orders, both of your parents have a say about where you live, visitation time and pretty much what you can and can’t do. Once you’re an adult at 18, then you have more say, especially if you’re not living with either parent. Talk with your parents about how you feel and why. You may be able to decide on a schedule that fits better with your activities especially as you get closer to 18. Good luck.

    • Colin
      Fri, 10 Jul 2009 at 02:04

      Dear judge,
      my parents are getting a divorce I am turning 14 in July and I live in Georgia can I say where I want to live or when I want to see them or is that the courts decison because I want to see both of them whenever I want to but I am afraid I am going to loose my dad and my mom.. And I have another question when my parents get a divorce I am kinda worried about the money.. My mom doesn’t have a job right Noe because she takes care of us and my dad works. But if I want to live with my mom does that mean we will be like broke or can my dad gives but both me and my mom money. Or can he not give my mom money??

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Colin: You present two very good questions. First, regarding where you live, your parents will discuss this and, at your age, will probably ask you what you think. If they can agree on a custody arrangement, you’ll have to live with it, unless it puts you in danger of abuse or neglect. As you get older, you’ll have more say depending on your state’s laws.
      Regarding your parents’ finances, don’t worry about that. Both parents are responsible to raise their children. If they don’t agree on a child support amount, the court may become involved and order a monthly amount that’s fair to everyone involved. Finances is their responsibility and not something you need to worry about. Good luck.

    • IP
      Mon, 13 Jul 2009 at 12:28

      We really want the best for the kids. They live in Virginia and I live in Texas, so I only get to see them for a short time in the summer. But every summer my 13 year old daughter begs to come live with us in Texas, because she feels she would safer and more stable, since I have been with my wife for 10 years and married for 6. She cries and says that her mother is unfit because she had one boyfriend living with her last summer and a different one just moved out days ago this summer. My daughter also says that her mother doesn’t even come home some nights. She is left at home to take care of her 10 year old brother(also mine) and 6 year old sister(from her 2nd husband). My daughter has even said that these boyfriends have hit her mother and that scares her. My daughter says she has told her mother that she wants to move in with me, but her mother says she will fight it in court and win. I would love to give my daughter the chance to live with me and my wife, but we don’t want to separate her from my 10 year old son at the same time. Their mother would not let him come to live with us too. Is there some kind of a court order we could push towards to keep their mother from bringing men into her home to live, and to keep her from leaving them at home by themselves overnight, or should we try to push for custody? Please, any advise would be greatly appreciated.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Sir: The laws of both states, Virginia and Texas, may come into play in your situation. We are not able to provide you with specific legal advice, but recommend that you talk with a private lawyer or community legal services to see what your options are. As your daughter gets older, she’ll have greater say regarding her living situation. If you feel that your children are in danger or are being neglected to the point where there well-being is in jeopardy, contact the authorities in Virginia [police or Child Protective Services] so that a welfare check can be conducted. Good luck.

    • Mikey
      Mon, 13 Jul 2009 at 01:40

      I’m 17 and was just told that my parents are considering getting a divorce. Legally my dad has custody of me, but I’ve lived with my step mom for almost 13 years. I want to live with my step mom, am I allowed that right or do I have to leave when my dad does?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Mikey – with whom you live depends on the law in your state or country. At your age, you may have a say in the matter. Try first to talk with your Dad and stepmom – explain your reasons for wanting to stay put especially if, as you say, you’ve been with your stepmom for most of your life. You may be close enough to adulthood, if it’s 18 where you are, that your opinion should be listened to. Good luck.

    • Ashley
      Wed, 15 Jul 2009 at 06:08

      I’m 15 I will be 16 as of July 26th. My parent’s are in the process of getting a divorce and i’m really not dealing with it to well.I live with my mom and i am happy i do, but i was wondering if I would have a choice on weather or not I wanna go for visitation with my dad??

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Ashley: the laws in each state differ, but at your age you most likely have a say in custody and visitation issues. We’re sorry to hear about your situation and encourage you to talk with your parents about your feelings, and other family members. You’re not alone or to blame for their decisions. Be strong and reach out to anyone you trust for help. All the best.

    • kat
      Sat, 18 Jul 2009 at 11:28

      okay so my parents are divorce and have shared custody. they have been seperated/divorced since i was about 14/15. i am now 17 and no longer wish to go to my dads any longer.
      throgh out the past few yrs my dad has not made it manditory for me to go with him on his set days. although in the begin at times he would make me go with him but as time pasted he more or less let me do as i pleased.
      now though since we had wat u wood call a difference of opinion he is tellin me (in a controllin manner)that he will have me on his set days.
      my dad is not a bad man but i dont not like being threathend/blackmailed or told in a controllin manner.
      so my ? is do i have to go w/ him.
      i am 17 i live with my mom she only makes him pay 500 in child support do i have to go with him if i dont want to?
      by the way we live in cali i dont no if that makes any difference.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Where you live does make a difference because of the laws that apply to your case. What also matters is the court order setting up the shared custody arrangement. You may have to live with what has been court-ordered until you’re 18 and make the best of it. It may not be worth the time, effort and expense to seek a change. Instead speak with both parents about your feelings and see if you can work out an arrangement that’s good for all of you. Good luck.

    • jordan
      Tue, 21 Jul 2009 at 06:10

      hi I’m 13 years old in Washington st. my dad has been threatening to leave our family since i was born but do i get to pick who i live with and if i want to visit or not?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      At your age (13) and under the laws of your state, you probably don’t get “to pick” who you live with. That decision is up to your parents and the court to decide what’s in your best interests. But be sure to talk calmly with both parents and let them know your feelings and what you’d like to see happen. Good luck.

    • jayd
      Wed, 22 Jul 2009 at 07:35

      hi im jayd and will be 14 in 4 months my mom always cheats on my dad and tells me and sis about it she is going 2 move 2 tx and divorce dad marry a rich guy named lance both parents want us 2 live with them i love both parents but iwould like 2 live with grandparents on their farm in idaho then i can see my fave cuzs 2 we live in alaska right now soo can i live with them after the divorce ps my mom might not want me 2 u can email me @ – ty very much

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Thanks for writing. At your age, the best you can do is to let your parents and grandparents know what you’d like to do if your parents separate or divorce. You may not agree with their decision but, as you get older you’ll have more say, especially as you get closer to being an adult. Good luck.

    • jayd
      Wed, 22 Jul 2009 at 08:36

      hi its jayd again so idont get 2 choose?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      No, the decision is up to your parents and/or the judge if the court becomes involved.

    • liz
      Wed, 22 Jul 2009 at 10:20

      well my parents are getting a divorce.
      my dad works but my mom hasn’t work in over 20 years will that effect custody?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Custody isn’t based on income alone – it’s a decision that’s based on what’s in your best interests. The working parent doesn’t necessarily get custody over the non-working parent. If your parents can’t agree on custody and visitation, then the court will decide what’s best for you. Good luck.

    • Taylor
      Sat, 25 Jul 2009 at 01:59

      Judge, My parents got divorced when I was two years old and ever since then I have been living with my mom. I have been visiting my dad during holiday seasons and summer ever since. Now that I am 14 I have decided that I would like to live with my dad instead. The problem is that he lives 10 hours away from my mom. I have tried to talk to my mom and compromise with her, but she says as my mother she “knows” whats best for me. I really don’t want to go back and live with her in south carolina, I want to live in Illinios. We have talked to a lawyer and the only was I don’t have to go back is if she agrees. Because she isn’t I have to go to school there until we get a court date. When we do actually get a court date me and my mom have to come all the way to IL. If I tell the judge i would much rather live with my dad, is there anyway my mom can stop me?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Taylor, since you have a court date and a chance to speak with the judge, it will be the court’s decision about which parent you live with unless your parents reach an agreement before the hearing.Tell the judge what you’d like to see happen and why. He or she will take your opinion into consideration in deciding which parent you’ll be with. You may not agree with the final decision, but as a minor you’re required to follow it. Good luck.

    • kaitlin
      Wed, 29 Jul 2009 at 11:27

      i’m fifteen years old, but i’ll be sixteen in a few days. i live in pennsylvania. my parents are divorced and i live with my mom. i hate living there and she’s kicked me out three times in the within the last school year. my parents have joint custody over me. i want to live with my aunt in georgia, and my dad said its okay. but my mom refuses to allow it. i read on the internet that i can’t emancipate one parent without the other, and judges rarely grant a decree of emancipation. i talked to a police officer from where i live and he said as long as they have joint custody, if my dad says okay, i can live in georgia and there isnt anything my mom can do about it. but then i talked to a police officer in georgia, and she said i needed both my parents consent. my mom wont agree to it under any circumstances. the main reason i want to live in georgia is because of my education. what can i do? i mean, is my dad’s consent enough?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Your Dad’s consent is probably not enough if your parents have a court order granting them “joint custody.” Your Mom would have to agree to the move to your aunt’s home. The laws of the state that issued the joint custody order apply. You’re right about emancipation – it is not an easy status to obtain from a court – you need to show you’re independent from your parents. All the best.

    • Kristin
      Fri, 31 Jul 2009 at 01:11

      Hello. My name is Kristin and I live in Wisconsin. I currently live with my mother, and I have visitation rights to see my father. I am 14 years of age, and I turn 15 in June. I would like to move in with my father for about a year to see if I like it or not, and if not I would move back with my mother. Since I would be 15, wouldn’t I have a choice in who I’d want to live with?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      It depends on the court order setting up your custody/visitation schedule. Have you talked with your parents about this? Explain to them what you’d like to see happen and why. If they agree, there’s no need to go back to court for modified orders. It’s always best to work things out among yourselves. Your state sets the age of when your opinion is taken into consideration by a court. Good luck.

    • Kristin
      Fri, 31 Jul 2009 at 05:05

      Hello. It’s Kristin again. I just talked to my mom over the internet about it and she said I am not going anywhere until I am 18. She said she could take me to court and they can explain it to me. I know that kids at the age of 15-16 should be able to have the right to choose. I’ve talked to friends about it. I really want to go to court to figure it out.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Under the laws that apply to you, your Mom is probably right in that she decides where you live until you’re an adult. You’ll have to make the best of it. There’s no state that allows a teenager “the right to choose” which parent to live with – some allow kids to have a say, but not the ultimate decision.

    • Kristin
      Fri, 31 Jul 2009 at 06:37

      I talked to my mom again. She cooled down a little. I told her. I just want to know what the school is like and if I don’t like it I will come back home. It would only be for a year. So I really hope she will soon agree with me, before my 15th birthday. If not. I will talk to my dad about it, and if worse comes to worse, I will go to court. Thank You much Judge Tom. =) You are a great help.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      You’re welcome, Kristin. Stay calm and keep the discussion going. All the best.

    • Alyssa
      Mon, 17 Aug 2009 at 09:44

      Hello, im 15 years old living in Florida. I have a older sister who is 17 years old and we just recently found out my parents are getting a divorce. I feel very emotional about the whole situation and im not sure who I can talk to about it. I was also wondering who might have custody of my sister and I? I know it differs from state to state, but I am curious.

      We’re glad you’re asking for guidance. You definitely need someone you trust to talk to about how you’re feeling and what you’d like to see happen. You and your sister will probably have a say about custody, especially if your parents don’t reach an agreement. At your ages and school schedules, shared custody may be best with generous visitation for both parents. Talk with your parents and a relative or close friend to help you through this. And don’t rule out counseling – we all need that at different times in our lives. All the best.

    • cece
      Wed, 19 Aug 2009 at 02:42

      i have a friend and he’s 18. his mom beats him is there anyway his uncle can get full custody of him instead of his mom?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Since he’s 18 and an adult, there’s no issue of custody unless a court has ruled that he’s in need of protection. You might contact Adult Protective Services in your state and ask for assistance. He could also ask a court for an Order of Protection against his mother – this is under the domestic violence laws. Good luck.

    • Jennifer
      Sun, 23 Aug 2009 at 07:04

      Hi. I have a step son who is 7 years old and my husband has 40% custody however the little boy keeps asking why he can’t be here more. We asked his mother tonight if we could have week on and week off all year just like we have in the summer and she said positively no. We have spent 4 years in court and we currently have almost equal custody and we did get the no corporal punishment because of things that were happening when he was with his mom but he is very sad to know that the school year is starting and he has to go back to the 40% confusing schedule. Can you please advise us on anything that we can do to fix this problem?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      If you’ve been in court the past four years regarding custody and visitation, apparently the judge has decided what’s in the child’s best interests. You’ll have to make the best of the 40% for now, and as he gets older, his desires may carry more weight. If the situation adversely affects him, emotionally or physically, that should be brought to the court’s attention. All the best.

    • abbs
      Mon, 24 Aug 2009 at 10:30

      I’m sixteen. My parents are going to be getting a divorce, and I was wondering the likelihood that I could go into the foster care system should I ask for it. My mother is extremely emotionally abusive and my dad is as well in his own right through his passiveness. I have a say (I’m in New York) if it goes to court (my mother wants to try mediation first) but I was wondering if it was at all possible if I explained this to the judge. And I specifically don’t want to end up with a relative, cause let’s just say the apple didn’t fall far from the tree with my parents.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      The foster care system is not a voluntary program. Usually kids are taken from their homes and placed by court order into foster homes. The goal is to return kids as soon as possible to family. Don’t give up on your parents. Try the mediation available to you and then let the judge know what you think. Good luck.

    • katii
      Mon, 07 Sep 2009 at 01:36

      i am 13 and live in VT my parents have been divorced since i was 5 and i live with my mom most and dad every other weekend but i am sick of being with my dad he doesn’t really make an effort to see me, i have my one life too. but i want to know if i am old enough to go to court or when i will be to decide for myself. he pretty much refuses to take me to my friends even though he only lives an hour away.

      please help
      thanks
      katii

      Judge Tom’s response:
      In your state, you may not be old enough yet to go to court. It’s better for everyone involved to try talking first. Tell both your parents what you’d like to happen as far as visits and custody and why. They have control until you’re an adult and you may have to make the best of it. Good luck.

    • katii
      Mon, 07 Sep 2009 at 01:49

      thanks but my dad flips out when i tell him so i dont know what to do but do u know the age i have to be?
      thanks
      Judge Tom’s response:
      We don’t provide specific legal advice or quote statutes since they change frequently. Also courts vary in how they handle individual cases. Stay calm and discuss everything with your parents – if your Dad gets upset when you bring it up, ask your Mom to talk with him for you.

    • khalia garrison
      Fri, 11 Sep 2009 at 06:21

      Hi my name is khalia and I am 14 years old..I live in palatka florida and my mom wants to move to gainesville florida.she wants me to move with her but honestly I don’t want to because I believe she should not make me move with her and I am already in the 9th grade and I’ve been living in palatka for my whole life and I really want to finish my last 3 years out in my home town.my aunt says when my mother move she would take me in custody.what should I do I am so confused

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Hi Khalia. Thanks for writing. You may not have much choice because of your age. Your mom has legal control over you until you’re 18. Have you tried to talk with her and explain your reasons for not wanting to leave Palatka? Maybe talking with her and then your aunt will help. Be calm and not demanding, ok? Good luck.

    • saiya newell
      Sat, 12 Sep 2009 at 02:40

      Im 14 and my mom said once Im fourteen I can choose where to go, but now she’s sayingits not up to me.My parents have joint custody and i have been going back and forth; one week at one parents and one week at anothers.All of this isn’t even legal like they haven’t gone to the court to arrange this. It’s a arrangement they have. They dont want to go to the court because it costs money. My younger brothers still have to go and one of them doesn’t want to but I know they can’t decide yet.But because of that I have to go too. I live in Oregon. So please please tell me what to do because this is really important.
      thankyou.
      Judge Tom’s response:
      You’re right, it is important. But it’s important to all of you – including your parents. Other than discussing the situation with them, there isn’t much you can do until you’re an adult. They have legal responsibility over you and you’re required under the law to obey them. Maybe you should discuss with them extending each stay – in other words, two weeks with each so the time at each home is longer. Good luck.

    • will
      Sat, 12 Sep 2009 at 07:53

      im 13 bout to be 14. I live with my dad and dont like it. I want to go live with my mom who gives me permission to go live with my brother,but my dad says no. wat do i do
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Under the law, unless you’re abused or neglected, you’re required to listen to your parents. You don’t decide where to live until you’re an adult. Talk with both parents and explain to them how you feel about your living situation and why. They may surprise you and work something out that’s to everyone’s satisfaction. Good luck.

    • Hannah
      Thu, 24 Sep 2009 at 04:00

      Im 15 and my parents are getting divorced. my dad is threating my mom that he going to take us kids away if she doesnt try to work their marriage out. is this legal? and if he does take us away do i have a right to choose who i want to be with or do i have to go with him?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Usually parents have equal rights regarding custody and visitation in the event of a divorce. If they don’t agree on the arrangements, then a court will decide. Depending on your age, you may have a say about where you live and visitation days/hours. The court’s job is to decide what is in your best interests and that depends on a lot of factors. Good luck.

    • Micah
      Thu, 01 Oct 2009 at 04:13

      My parents are going through a divorce but its not finalized yet.I am 16 almost 17 in a few months and I live in Florida but I wanna move to North Carolina with my Aunt because college is right around the corner and I wanna go to college in North Carolina.My dad say I can go but my mom says she will see.If both of my parents say I can go can I go stay with my Aunt? Even the visitation hours my parents said they will let me come home back in the summer to stay with them during the summer.
      Judge Tom’s response:
      If your parents agree to let you live with your aunt, there shouldn’t be a problem. Since you’re a minor you must follow their wishes. It’s good that you can come to an agreement, spend time with your family, and get ready for college. Good luck.

    • Karina
      Fri, 02 Oct 2009 at 07:36

      Dear Jude Tom,

      In less than a month I am going to turn 15 years old. Life with my parent’s hasn’t always been the best case scenario for me, and not because I am a ‘teenager’. From a very early age, my parents have bickered with one another and their forms of punishment were verbal, physical, and mental abuse. These were not minor cases, my brother had been stranded in the midst of a highway a total of three times, and my father had hit me to the point where I’d bled. In most case scenario’s, it was my father’s doing because he is unable to control his temper. But my mother has chipped my tooth before.

      More than four months ago, I found out my parent’s were separating and that my father was sleeping with another woman. Obviously, it hurt to see my mother so depressed but I had been selfish and saw this as an opportunity for myself because I was able to go out with my friends more. During the summer my mother tried everything to get him back, and at the start of the school year he decided to give us all another chance.

      At first, things were going well, yet now my father says he will never love my mother and how he has already purchased a house to live with the woman he has been sleeping with. My father says other, hurtful things yet my mother is delusional and thinks everything will be alright in the end. My mother has devoted her life to my brother and I, so I don’t want her to live a lonely life when I move out.

      Seeing the way things are going, my parents are definitely going to apply for a divorce (money is of no issue) but I want to live with my mother no matter what. I don’t think this will fly with my father, but I want my mom to have full custody with visitation rights from my dad. If I mention to the judge/my lawyer that my father was abusive to my brother and I, will this allow full custody for my mom? I really don’t want to live with my dad because he is insane. I love him to death but the sort of environment he creates is unsafe. This summer, I stayed with him for a week and there wasn’t food in the fridge and he wouldn’t give me money to purchase food. When I told him about this, he told me that if kids in Africa can starve, then so can I.

      To me, that seems insane. I do not wish to live with him anymore and I am wondering how I can give full custody to my mother only with visitation rights. My brother is 13, so we are both old enough to realize which household would be better to live in. The thing I am afraid of most is that since my family is wealthy, my father will get an amazing lawyer who will give them a joint custody.

      Thank you for reading/replying.
      Karina.
      Judge Tom’s response:
      The best thing you can do for yourself and your brother is to tell the judge and your lawyer the truth about how you feel and why. Then with all the available information from all of you, the court can make a decision that’s in your best interests. All the best.

    • jocelyn
      Fri, 02 Oct 2009 at 10:10

      hi im jocelyn im 14 and i live with my mom my parents got divorced when i was 8 and i have lived with my mom sence then up untell last year she let me be with my dad but now im back with her because i thought i wonted to le with her again but i dont and now im sort of stuck with my mom and she was saying that she wonts to go to court to give my dad custody but now shes saying that shes going to say that she still wonts me but i really dont wont to live with her we dont get along great and im not happy with her and she used to hit me and i dont wont that to happen again and all my familey lives in mass were my dad is and im in no were land florida. if i go to court what do you think our judge will say because even tho my dad isnt as stable as my mom id like to live with him and im alot better there(behaver and grade wise) and how much do you think its going to cost because my mom is going to make my dad pay for the plane tickets for me and her and to have us go to court.

      write back soon please ~ jocelyn
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Jocelyn: We can’t say what the cost will be. That depends on many factors including the attorneys involved, the time spent in and out of court, etc. Let your lawyer, if the court has given you one, know your feelings and exactly why you prefer to live with one parent or the other. Also if you get a chance to speak with the judge, do the same. It’s the judge’s responsibility to consider all the facts and decide what’s best for you. Good luck.

    • hailey
      Sat, 03 Oct 2009 at 02:54

      hi im hailey im 14 and i live with my mom but i would like to live with my dad but my mom dosnt wont me to if we go to court do i get to chose?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Who you end up living with depends on whether or not your parents come to an agreement about custody and visitation. The court only gets involved if your parents cannot agree. If the case goes to court, it’s possible, depending on the laws in your state, that the judge will give you an opportunity to speak about what you would like. It’s best if the matter can be worked out without the court getting involved. Try sitting down with both your parents and explaining to them why you want to live with your father. Perhaps, they will work something out where you can live with your dad and visit your mom on certain days. Best of luck.

    • stephine
      Sat, 03 Oct 2009 at 03:09

      hello i am stephine and i have a daughter that just turned 14 and me and her father have been divorced for some time now and my daughter has been liveing with me but she wonts to live with her dad now. so my queshtion is at 14 years old on massachusetts can a child dicide who they live with?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      The court sometimes will consider a teenager’s opinion and wishes in a custody dispute, but usually an older teen who is closer to being an adult. It all depends on the specific laws in your state. Check with a local family law attorney. Good luck.

    • nick
      Fri, 16 Oct 2009 at 05:30

      im 14 could i chosse to live with my mom even though she is declared unfit and visitations while my dad has custody?
      please reply
      Judge Tom’s response:
      If your dad has legal custody, you have no choice where you live unless he agrees that you move. If your mom has been declared unfit, it doesn’t sound like the best plan for you to live with her. At your age, you’re required to obey your parents and follow any court orders that exist. Try to make the best of your situation unless you’re in danger of abuse or neglect. If that’s the case, confide in a trusted adult, call the police or Child Protective Services. Good luck.

    • Anthony
      Fri, 23 Oct 2009 at 06:32

      Hi, my name is anthony and I am 12 yrs old soon to be 13. My parents have been divorced since I was 3. We currently live in Pa and my mom wants to move back to Florida with her family because we lost our house to foreclosure and she can get a job there. All of our family is there so we will have a great support system. When my mom moves, i want to go with her and live and visit with my dad during the summers. He won’t let me go with my mom and that is why my mom stayed in PA to be with me and lost our house having no job. Do i have any rights here? My mom is a good mom and I can’t live without her.
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Anthony, your rights depend on the court orders that were issued when your parents divorced. If they have shared or joint custody, they can agree to custody and visitation changes or go back to court if they disagree. Even then, the court may rule against you. As you get older, under the law, you may have more say. So, for the time being, you have to make the best of it. Explain calmly to both parents what you would like and why. Good luck.

    • Qiong Lin
      Sun, 01 Nov 2009 at 06:45

      Hi, I am living in CA and have 3 kids(10Yrs, 9 Yrs, and 3Yrs old). I have been divorced since this May. Right now we all 50/50 of all custody. Now he want 100% and don’t need any child support. and we try to work out visitation schedule. Think about all the best interest for the kids. I want one day and night per week, and 30 days vocation with me. and during the vacation time I can take them out of the country for vacations. I told him if he agreed the schedule then I will sign the paper.
      My question is: once all the agreement made, and go to court. If I change my job, maybe I will out of the country for 1-2 years, and I can not follow the visitation schedule, Can he go to the court and take back all the schedule times and won’t let me see my kids after I come back?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      We are an educational teen-law web site. We do not provide legal advice and are unable to answer your specific questions. We suggest you speak with a family lawyer before signing any papers or going to court. Check with your local court for a list of lawyers. You may be able to arrange for a free consultation. Good luck.

    • Mo
      Mon, 02 Nov 2009 at 07:31

      I am Mo an 18 years old and i live with my mom but i think my dad is going to try to get custody of me, but i dont want to live with him. I really dont get along with my step mom. I love living at my moms, i have good grade in school and have a job. can the court make me live with my dad or no becuase i am 18 and can make my on descion?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Mo: A lot depends on the custody orders entered by the court when your parents divorced. Talk with both parents and explain how you feel and why. Since you’re now an adult you should have some say in your living arrangements. But you may be required under the laws in your state to listen to your parents if you’re still in high school and being supported by them. Good luck.

    • Jessica
      Thu, 05 Nov 2009 at 09:55

      I am 18 going on 19 living with my parents only due to I am going to college, they might be getting divorced and I do not want to choice who I want to live with, Do I have to or can I have some way of getting my own place, I do not get along with either and I don’t wanna get stuck with one, What would happen?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Jessica, everything depends on what your state laws say about custody when you’re over 18 and in college. Some states allow for child support beyond high school but not all. As far as getting your own place, discuss this with your parents and see what they say. You’re legally an adult which means you’re old enough to make these decisions, but you also have to be self-sufficient. Try Googling “child support” and your state’s name and see what you find. Good luck.

    • Chloe
      Mon, 09 Nov 2009 at 07:27

      Hi i’m 11 years old and my parents have been divorced for 7 years. I live with my mom most of the time (I see my dad every Wendesday and every other weekend). My mom is a sex addict and doesn’t care about me. She forgets to pick me up from school and has never once cooked a meal for me. She been on antidepressents since i was 2. My question was I don’t want to live with either of my parents. But i know my aunts wouldn’t take me in and my grandparents would just be to much for them. What should i do? I’ve gone to couunselers and done every thing i can. This is my last option! What should I do?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Chloe:
      First, thanks for writing us. It sounds like you need to talk with someone you trust about what’s going on. It can be a relative, a friend’s parent or an adult at school. You should explain the situation and why you feel the way you do. If you’re in any danger of being abused or severely neglected to the point where your well-being is at risk, call either child protective services or the police [911]. Take a look at http://askthejudge.info/what-if-i-am-being-abused-or- neglected/60/#more-60 for more information about getting help. Good luck.

    • bryan
      Tue, 10 Nov 2009 at 09:42

      my parents are getting divorced and i have a little sister(8) where would she go? is it her dicion
      Judge Tom’s response:
      At age 8, where and with whom she will live is not her decision. If your parents don’t reach an agreement regarding custody and visitation, the court will decide what is in her best interests. Good luck to both of you.

    • Beth Peters
      Thu, 12 Nov 2009 at 10:31

      I have a delimma. I have an 18yo stepson who is currently in college and lives with his mother. He is a fine young man who has never been a problem with his father and I when he visits. His mother has had him grounded most of his childhood. Any where from 1 week to 6 months at a time. The only social interaction with his peers has been at school. Even now it continues. His father no longer has to pay childsupport since he turned 18 and has graduated high school. Since graduation, my stepson has only seen his father two or three times. He is planning on spending Christmas with us this year. He told his father that his mother is working Thanksgiving so my husband told him he can come for Thanksgiving also if he wants. Well, his mother flipped. She is now threatening to kick him out of the house if he comes to see his father and blames my stepson for her staying at her job with the university’s hospital so he can go to college. She has always degraded him. I have witnessed this on two occasions in particular. She also is telling him lies about his father loving him; saying that during the divorce he said he didn’t want that “d—” child. These comments she is supposedly quoting; are totally out of character for my husband. When I met my husband his self esteem was at rock bottom because of her; he would never say something like that because he truly cares for his son. My husband and I are trying to help him but don’t know what his options might be. He really wants to continue in college where he is at. If she kicks him out, he will lose the discount he is receiving for college because she will cancel it. She has given her son many things as gifts over the years but if she kicks him out the only thing he can take with him is the clothes he wears and what we have given him (i hope). I have wanted to report her but as I have said she is very vindictive; to the point of threatening to accuse my husband of kidnapping his son one christmas when we were going to stop at her brother’s home on the way to my husband’s mothers home so he could see his maternal grandmother. I know this is kind of wordy but I really am at brickwall with this. I was speaking with my husband about his son the other day before this happened. I felt like something on this order was going to happen because of how controlling she has been in regard to visitation prior to the child support ending. Now that there is no money coming from his father for trips to Hawaii and such and she can’t call the shots; she is now taking it out on his son moreso than before. She is a very strange woman; it is almost scary how she is. She ostracized her family because they would not ostracize my husband. My husband took his son to see his maternal grandmother over the past 10 years with his mother’ knowledge. My stepson’s social skills at age 15 were those of an 8-10 year old. He improved greatly after he started spending more weekends with us and was able to spend one summer with us (that was a surprise). I am just concerned for him and trying to help my husband and my stepson figure this out. Thanks.
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Since your stepson is now an adult, with no court orders in effect concerning child support, visitation etc. he can decide what he wants to do as far as spending time with you and his dad and possible consequences from his mother. If she does kick him out, he’ll have more decisions to make [with your input if he's open to you]. It may mean transferring to a new college and moving. Hope this works out for all of you. Good luck.

    • Ellie
      Sat, 14 Nov 2009 at 10:58

      I am 15 years old and I have a younger brother who is 12 years old. We live in Kentucky. Our parents have been arguing for as long as I can remember. It has gotten worse lately. Now my father is not only arguing with her, but he yells at me and my brother. He is also bringing my grandparents on my mother’s side into this. He has some medical problems and blames everything on them. He starts all of the arguements. We don’t have a lot of money and I’m afraid that he will try to take it. He will also try to keep my brother and I even though we both want our mother to have full custody. She doesn’t currently have a job, but she can get one. My father calls us stupid and threatens us. He also drinks a lot and sometimes smokes marijuana. My mother wants to get a divorce, and has for a long time, but she is afraid that he will get custody. Can my brother and I choose who will get custody? If not, will we get to stay with our mother anyway? How can I convince my mother that everything will be okay if they do get a divorce? We just really need help. Thanks.
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Ellie: If your parents end up in court because one or the other files for divorce, you will have a chance to express your feelings about custody and visitation. At your age, most courts want to know how you feel about the living arrangements. If your parents can’t reach an agreement about custody, it’s the court’s job to decide what’s in your best interests. So, if you meet with a lawyer, counselor, caseworker or any other court personnel, tell them exatly what you think and why. You can also include your younger brother. Good luck.

    • Bryan
      Mon, 30 Nov 2009 at 02:54

      I’m 14 going on 15. My parents have been going to court for 3 years already, I really want to live with my dad but I live with my mom, I live in CA, do I have a say? I have only been called in once but the judge didn’t want to change his decision
      Dear Bryan: As you get older, you should have a say where you live – at least with your parents. Talk with them about this and why you want to change homes. If they go back to court over this, ask to speak with the judge or you could write him/her a letter. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Matthew
      Wed, 02 Dec 2009 at 07:52

      Hi, im 17 years old and my parents are divorced. I was wondering, at my age and my parents being separated, if i could chose to not live with either of them and live on my own. I live in Texas.
      Dear Matthew: If your parents have a separation agreement that includes court orders, you have to follow them until you’re an adult. Otherwise, you need to check your state’s laws regarding emancipation – not every state has an emancipation law for minors. Google “Texas emancipation for minors” for more information. You might also discuss the situation with your parents to see if you can reach an agreement about your living independent. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jesse
      Fri, 04 Dec 2009 at 12:52

      Hello, I am 15 years old and my parents are going to get a divorce. We live in Texas, do I have a choice who I can live with?
      Dear Jesse: Custody and visitation of children in a divorce case is up to the parents unless they cannot agree. In that case, the court will decide what’s in the child’s best interests. Let your parents and the court know how you feel and why. As you get older, usually over 12 or 14, your opinion is taken into consideration. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Alexander
      Sun, 13 Dec 2009 at 07:37

      Hi,there judge.First of all my parents are divorced and im currently living with my father I am of the age of 15 and live in texas.
      Now the question isn’t about living with them. I’d like to live with my granparents for a year or so beacuse they need alot of help seeing as there house was almost burned down.Is there a way i can live with my Grandparents in Mississippi?
      Hi, there ALexander: Your intentions are admirable. Talk with your parents about this idea to help out your grandparents and see if they’ll agree to it. Under the law, they have the final say about who you live with and where until you’re an adult. Enjoy the holidays.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Lexi
      Sat, 19 Dec 2009 at 06:23

      Hey, Judge. I’m in a little trouble; see, I want to live with my Mom full time but my Dad wants to see me and my brother. I really don’t like the arrangement and want to just live with my mom (and my brother thinks the same too) but my dad just won’t let us. I’ve talked to both of them over and over and he just won’t agree. I’m thirteen, turning fourteen, is there anything I can do? We’re in Canada, if that helps.
      Dear Lexi: This isn’t what you want to hear but your parents have the say about where you live and with whom until you’re an adult. The laws in your province about custody and visitation are available at your local library for you to check. Most likely, you’re obligated to follow your parents rules since under the law, they are obligated to provide what’s best for you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • killian
      Sun, 03 Jan 2010 at 09:04

      i need to live with my nana in ohio!!! i am (13) and my dad’s girlfriend is trying to get me out of the house! and she has got me to a point to where i want to end my life! but now i feel better because i i was in ohio i have 2 brothers in ohio and i ahve been slpit between them both i also have a mother down there. i can’t stand my dad’s girlfreind now becoming his wife!! my dad also always is leaving me alone at home we have tried counsling and everytime i am in ohio i am happy not depressed. i feel at home and at ease. what should i do??
      Dear Killian: You haven’t mentioned talking with your dad about how and why you feel the way you do. That should be the starting point as well as confiding in your counselor. Maybe a joint session with your dad and counselor would help as well. Don’t give up, try to stay calm and keep talking to the adults in your life that you trust. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Melanie
      Sun, 10 Jan 2010 at 01:52

      I’m am 15 years old and soon to be 16. Attye moment I live with my mother and her soon to be husband. I appsolutly hate living with them. The desicion was made for me to live with my mothe and that involved moving across he country away from my dad and my friends. I currently live in Vancouver b.c. I was told that if I didn’t like my living arangements that if I gave it a try I would be able to move back butnow my mother and hr husband to be won’t let me move back home with my dad. Do I have the right to make my own desicion?? We did to go to for costody agreements it was decided mutually at the time . Is there anything I can do??
      Dear Melanie: At your age, you do not have a right to decide where you’ll live. If your parents can’t agree, the court will decide what is in your best interests. Explain to your parents and soon-to-be stepfather how you feel and why. Hopefully they’ll listen to you and take your position into consideration. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Rachel
      Mon, 25 Jan 2010 at 05:18

      my parents have been seperated and have had joint custody of me since i was 4. i live with my mom and go to my dads every other weekend.my dad is always late on child support, and never buys me anything when im with him because “thats what child support is for” he didnt even get me a birthday present. he never lets me go to my friends houses cuz he never gets to see me but i dont want to spend time with him if he is sucjh a jerk. im 15 years old and im getting really fed up with him. when i turn 16, im planning on buying my car by myself so i can just leave when he makes me mad. do i have to go through a legal process?
      Dear Rachel: You might run into some roadblocks in buying a car. Depending on your state’s laws, you may need an adult co-signer. Juveniles usually aren’t able to enter into legal contracts unless they’ve been legally emancipated. Try talking with both parents calmly about these issues, explaining that you’re getting older and will be an adult in a few years. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Lily
      Thu, 28 Jan 2010 at 07:44

      Hello, Judge.
      I’m 18, turning 19 the end of this year, and I’m from New York. My mom and my dad never really got along, but they stayed together for my sake throughout all these years. Now that I’m 18, they want to file for a divorce. I have a younger sister, who’s 10, turning 11 this year.
      My question is, since I’m 18 and dependent on them for college (I’m a fresh) will I not be able to be emancipated from them? I already have backup plans, which involves me living with my friend in case I be independent from both parents.
      Also, will my sister be able to choose who she wants to be with? I know she wants to live with my dad, but when the divorce goes into play, my mom would be more financially stable. Will my mom be guaranteed to full custody over my sister?
      Dear Lily: Since you’re 18, almost 19, you’re a legal adult. Emancipation may not apply to you. Google “emancipation New York” and see what your status is. On the other hand, if your parents do not agree regarding custody of your sister, the court will decide based on what’s in her best interests. At age 10, she has little say in this regard – not until she’s at least 12 or 14 years old. Good luck to you both.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Lily
      Wed, 03 Feb 2010 at 12:17

      Hi Judge.
      It’s Lily again. I just have another question that I need some advice on.
      If my parents divorce, will my college status be affected? I’m currently dependent on my parents financially in order to attend college. If I be independent from them both, will I be incapable of continuing my college education?
      Dear Lily: Your parents divorce shouldn’t affect your eligibility to continue in college. Check with the financial services office at school for the specifics of funding your education. Your parents could agree and the court may order that they continue to support you until you graduate. Every state has its own laws regarding support of children, with some including college expenses. Talk this over with your parents. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Ivy
      Wed, 03 Feb 2010 at 07:48

      Hi. Im 15 years old and I live in Alabama. My parents have been divorced for around 11 years, and they have had split custody. My schedule for swapping houses is extremly difficult, not to mention the added stress of school work and athletics bags being left at one house or the other because one parent refuses to take me back to the other to pick it up after sports practice.Then there is the issue of cost of clothing, the upcoming cost of a car, the monthly payment on braces, and then college. Its extremly stressful on me and I sometimes feel its a ton of added responsibilties that other people my age that I am around dont understand. My dad is overbearing and doesnt understand that it stresses me out, so I usually stay in my room when I have to go to his house.He claims its because of me having a cell phone so he took mine away. My mom got me a new one to use so she could get in touch with me instead of depending on friends’ phones all the time, but he refuses to let me use it at his house, saying is takes from the time I should spend with him and the 2 children he has by my stepmom. Personally, I dont enjoy the company of children whatsoever. I have absolutly NO desire to be around them because they are extremly wild and have no punishment. To be so hard on me, my dads really against getting on to either of them. I’de really like to stay with my mom, but my dad refuses to let me stay with her full time. If I say I dont want to he will pull up outside our house and lay down on the horn in his truck for 5-10 minutes at a time until I come out and go with him. Is there any way we could settle this without putting the stress on my mom to get a lawyer and whatnot right before having to pay for my prom dress and possibly the whole cost of my car.(My dad said if he pays any money on the car, he will have the right to take my keys any time he wants to which would make it impossible for me to go back to moms and get home from practice. I’de much rather trust myself to get me home than him, because hes been known to forget about coming to get me and leave town, leaving me at volleyball, basketball,or softball practice with no way home. I feel awful day after day asking friends or friends’ parents to drive all the way to town from my little school in the country to take me home.) I’de really like to know what power I have because he keeps telling me I would have none in court. Thanks.
      Dear Ivy: Your Dad may be right. Unless there’s evidence of abuse by either parent, you’re required to follow the court’s order regarding custody and visitation. Once you’re an adult, you’ll be able to make your own decisions. Try explaining to both parents how you feel about the back-and-forth to two homes and see if there is a compromise you can reach. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Carol
      Thu, 04 Feb 2010 at 09:41

      Hi Judge,
      I’m 13 and I live in OR and I just found out my parents are getting a divorce. My dad is’nt my real dad (he’s my stepfather) and I was wondering if I’d have visatation rights. I don’t think my mom is going to let me see him and he’s ben in my life sense I was 3. My mom says we might still be able to live in the same town if she can find a job and I wanted to know how the visiting my dad part would go if I do get to visit.Does my stepdad have a right to get full custody like my mom.I keep on saying dad but I mean my step dad. I tryed talking to my mom about it but she said I wouldn’t be able to visit him. My dad said all I had to do is tell the judge I wanted to live with him.Please help!!
      Dear Carol: Sorry to hear about the divorce. If your Mom and stepfather can’t agree on contact with you after the divorce, a court may have some say. It depends on the laws in your state. Some states recognize long-term relationships, including stepparents, and grant them visitation rights. If the court gets involved, the judge will decide what is in your best interests. All the best.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Kait
      Thu, 18 Feb 2010 at 08:56

      Hai, I’m Kait. I’m 14 years old and I turn 15 in two months. I’m from MO and my parents are currently getting a divorce. I really want to live with my dad, but my mom wants me to live with her and visit him. I understand that she doesnt want to seperate me and my younger sister(11, almost 12) but she wants to live with our dad too. Do me and my little sister have a say who we live with?
      Dear Kait: Sorry to hear about your parents divorce. But you and your younger sister will be fine. At your age and depending on the laws of your state, you may have a chance to speak to someone about your wishes regarding custody. In some states, if the case goes before a judge, he or she will want to hear from the child if over 14, for example. Every state sets its own minimum age. Your sister may be too young to have a say, but both of you should explain calmly to your parents what you want and why. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Rudy
      Sat, 20 Feb 2010 at 11:44

      My name is Rudy, I live in North Carolina, and I’m fifteen years old. My mom has recently been considering leaving my dad. He has emotionally abused my mother, my 12-year-old sister, and me for years now, and doing such has recently led my sister to some very self-destructive behavior. My mom wants to leave him, but fears she will lose custody of my sister and I. I have two questons. When my parents separate, they’re not likely to leave on good terms, so will we have to go to court over custody immediately? If so, it would be healthiest for my sister and I to stay with our mother permanently full-time, so is it possible that my mom would have full custody over the two of us?
      Dear Rudy: Sorry to hear of the situation at home. If your parents file for divorce, the court will review custody of you and your sister. If your parents can’t agree on a custody arrangement, the court will decide where you live and the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. It’s the court’s job to decide what is in your best interests. So let the judge know when the time comes what you think about your living arrangements and why. At your age, you’ll most likely have a chance to voice your opinion. That depends on the laws in your state and the judge’s policy regarding speaking with minors in these cases. Good luck to you both.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • josh
      Sun, 21 Feb 2010 at 10:57

      hi, im 14 years old and my parents are going to get devorced. But my dad is the one leaving. would i be intitled to any of his money legaly?
      Dear Josh: Regardless of which parent is seeking the divorce or leaving the marriage, the children are not entitled to “money” from either parent. The issue of child support for the children will be decided by a court. Those amounts are usually paid to one parent by the other, and the support is just that – support for the welfare of the kids. But no monies go directly to the children.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • denise standley
      Sat, 27 Feb 2010 at 02:39

      I need advice. My daughter is 16 years old, she will be 17 in about 6 months. She lived with me until she was 10 years old, then went to live with her dad. We have joint custody. My daughter wants to live with me, she tells me that she has no relationship with her dad and they never talk. Her father is really controlling, he thinks her best friend is gay and wont let them hang out and now my daughter wont even invite friends over to her dads house because she is scared that he will treat her other friends badly. Our court order has me seeing my daughter every Wednesday till 8pm and every other weekend. I have asked for more time but he will not give it to me. He never informs me of her doctor appointments, his wife took my daughter to get a vaccine to prevent sexually transmitted dieseases (without my knowledge or consent) My daughter has IEP meetings at school and her father refuses to tell me about them, since then I have requested that the school informs me of any meetings and the last time I went to one the new wife was there and I couldnt even get a word in because she was talking the whole time, making the decisions etc..My daughter wants to live with me but she is scared of going to court, what do I do?
      Dear Ms. Standley: Askthejudge.info is an educational web site for and about teenagers and the law. We do not provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you contact a family law attorney to discuss these issues. Your local family court may have a FLAP assistance program that you can take advantage of as well. Call the court to see if this Free Legal Assistance Program is in your area. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice]

    • I’d rather be anonymous
      Tue, 02 Mar 2010 at 05:39

      im 13 living in nevada and i hate my dad (hes really my step dad but my real dad left when i was a baby) hes mean hates me loves my little sister always takes her side. my mom is basicly caught in the middle, she gets after my little sister on things my dad wouldn’t. he has the higher paying job in the marrige and basicly supports us entierly and i think my mom may be afraid to split. i really want them to and my sister to go with my dad and me to go with my mom. (P.S. in nevada would i be able to have any word on who i live with? and can i not visit my dad?)
      Dear I’d: As far as living with your Dad, you’ll have to talk with your Mom about that. It sounds like she has legal custody of you and your sister. You may be too young at 13 to have any formal say about custody – but let your Mom know how you feel and why. Hopefully things may improve at home. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Anonymous.
      Wed, 10 Mar 2010 at 05:27

      Hi, I’m sixteen and living in Pennsylvania. My parents are living in different houses and have been since August. My mom left. The divorce isn’t taking place until July. I’ve been living with my dad, but I’m planning on living with my mom. My dad says I’m not legally allowed to live with her until after the divorce. Is this true? Also, my brother is 12 and wants to live with my dad. My mom is working two jobs but doesn’t make that much money and I’m worried that if I live with her I won’t be in financially stable household. I don’t want the stress of that. My dad makes a lot more money than my mom. Since he will have my brother and my mom will have me, will he still have to pay some type of child support? Thanks.
      Dear Anon: You have a number of questions and legitimate concerns regarding your future since your parents are divorcing. Since they are already in court, the judge will be making certain decisions about your custody and your brother’s. The judge takes everything you’ve stated into consideration in determining what’s best for you both. If you get the chance to speak with the judge, tell him or her what you’d like to see happen and why. Every state differs regarding the opportunity to address the court. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Susan
      Fri, 12 Mar 2010 at 11:06

      Hi, I’m 13 and I live in NY, my parents are getting a divorce and I don’t want to live with either of them. My father is childish, he acts like a teenaged girl, he can’t cook or clean, he is lazy. My mother is just as childish, she loses her temper all the time and yells at us, also she is just a controlling, manipulating, hypocrit. I have just had it with the situation, I know that I kind of have a say in who gets custody, my only question is: My sister currently lives in Maryland on a military base with her boyfriend, son, and my cousin. I want to live with her, she has enough space, and she told me that she would be fully willing to let me live with her, so, will it be possible for her to get custody?
      Dear Susan: At 13, you may have a say regarding who you live with. It depends on the laws of your state and the policy of the court that will rule on your parents divorce. Sorry to hear about this situation. If your parents don’t agree on custody, the court will decide and the judge’s decision is based on what’s in your best interests. Try speaking calmly with your parents about how you feel and why. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • cera
      Fri, 26 Mar 2010 at 05:08

      im 15 and last year my parents split up because my mom wanted to be with someone else. the problem is that we were in england & we had to move to america. the man my mom is with now smokes all the time & now my mom started smoking. whenever im around them smoking i feel like im suffocating. he has two daughters & all they do is stress me out. my mom & their dad work until 7pm so i have to watch my ‘sisters’ from when we are dropped off after school until they come home. i know its not a good thing to say, but i hate them. i miss my friends and family in england & i want to go back, but its impossible. i just dont know how to deal with this.
      Dear Cera: We wish we had the answer to your troubles. However, since you’re a minor, you’re required to obey your parents unless you’re in danger of abuse or neglect. In that case, Child Protective Services would step in to protect you. You might consider talking to your Mom about the things that bother you and how its affecting you at home and at school. It’s understandable that the move to America, away from your friends, is a difficult adjustment. Hopefully, in time, things will improve for all of you. You could also speak with a counselor at school who may be of assistance. All the best, Cera.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Taylor
      Tue, 30 Mar 2010 at 10:23

      Dear Judge:
      Iam 10 years old and I live with my mom. My mom and dad were never married and there are no custody papers. My mom got a job offer in Arizona we live in new york now. I want to move with my mom to arizona but my dad is giving my mom a hard time about leaving. I really dont see my dad that often i dont sleep at his house i jyst dont like being there with him he is not a nice person he always talks bad about my mom and wants me to lye to her. What would happen if my mom and I just left for arizona? what could he do to us and will i have to come back?
      Dear Taylor: It sounds like your parents, especially your Mom, need to talk with a family lawyer about the best way to make the move without breaking the law. She may need to get permission from a court depending on your local laws. Tell your Mom that there are free legal clinics and programs where she could obtain some advice before she leaves the state. She can call her local public library or courthouse and ask to see what’s in your area. Good luck, Taylor.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • david
      Tue, 30 Mar 2010 at 05:33

      Dear judge,
      My dad has just filed for his “child support” payments to be revoked, i might have to go into court with other withstanding issues that he seems to have brought up, i have no urge to see him anymore, can i request that i remain at my moms? i am 16,does this make a difference?
      Dear David: Let your parents know what your position is regarding custody and why. At your age, the laws of your state may allow you to speak up in court if and when a hearing is held. If there are other adults involved in the case, such as a social worker, Child Protective Services, a guardian for you, or attorneys for your parents, let them know as well your feelings in the matter. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • samantha
      Fri, 09 Apr 2010 at 08:35

      I live with my dad in georgia, i hate it here its ruined my life and i dont wanna be here .. my dad blames me for his gf leaving and trying to kill herself, i hate her but i love my dad and it doesnt seem lik he cares bout me. i have tried to contact my real mom but she doesnt answer . my stepmom on the other hand lives in arkansas , thats where i want to be , but my dad and her are getting a divorce , ive lived with her since i was 3 til the age of 15 . i am now 16 and will b 17 in nov . can i decide if i want to live with my stepmom?
      Dear Samantha: As long as you’re under 18, you’re required to obey your parents, in this case, your father. Maybe try talking with him calmly about your feelings – how you feel about living with him and the reasons for your dissatisfaction. Rather than thinking about living elsewhere, there may be a compromise you can work out so it’s better for both of you. Family counseling may also be a help for both of you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Evette
      Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 05:40

      Is there any law that states that an automatic divorce is granted after a lengthy period of being seperated, such as 11 yrs? If not is there such thing as a speedy divorce?
      Dear Evette: Each state has its own laws regarding divorce or what’s called dissolution. Those laws set specific time periods before the divorce is final. In Arizona, for example, a divorce is possible 60 days after filing a petition with the court under certain circumstances. Try Googling “divorce time period” and your state’s name for more information.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Adam
      Sat, 17 Apr 2010 at 10:30

      Hi im adam and I am 15 years old and live with my mom because my parents seperated 4 years ago I want to move in with my dad but my mom says i have to wait untill i am 18 so What is the legal age i can move in with my dad? and what would my dad have to do?
      Dear Adam: If there are court orders regarding your custody, you have to follow them although you disagree with the present situation. You can’t call the shots as a minor but you can sit down with both parents and explain what you’d like to see happen and why. Calmly explaining your position sometimes brings surprising results. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Amanda
      Wed, 05 May 2010 at 12:36

      I’m 16 going on 17 and my parents are about to get a divorce. I don’t want to live with either of them. I have a job and i’m still in school. My Friends parents have offer to let me live with them (I plan on paying rent). Is it possible that I can move in with them? My dad is possibly Bi polar and he snaps easy. My mom and i have never had a good relationship. I live in Indiana.
      Dear Amanda: We’re sorry to hear of your situation. Since you’re still a minor, you’re required to listen to your parents. If they can’t reach an agreement in the divorce about custody and where you live, the court will decide what’s in your best interests. In the meantime, maybe a meeting with all of you sitting down and calmly discussing the options would help. That would include your friend’s parents and your Mom and Dad. Good luck, Amanda, and be strong – you’ll get through this.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Savannah
      Sun, 09 May 2010 at 12:33

      I’ll start off by telling you that my dad had an almost life-ending heart problem last year. He fully recovered and all but still doesn’t have a job. My mom says she wants to find him a steady job then get a divorce. They fight like every week about bills and there is alot of stress at home. We have a nice house that is not quite paid off. All my friends live in the twnship and i really don’t want to leave. I’m 13 and want to live with my mom in this house.. do think that dream could ever come true if they got a divorce? or would they just sell the house and i would have to move and maybe with my dad.
      Dear Savannah: If and when your parents get a divorce, they will decide where they’ll live and who you will live with. Let them know how you feel and what you would like to see happen. It may help them make decisions about your life knowing your position. If they can’t agree, a court will decide what is in your best interests. It is possible that you could remain in your present home. Good luck, Savannah, and remember that you’re not the cause of their break-up. Be strong.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • daniela
      Sun, 09 May 2010 at 01:38

      i’m 14 years old. my parents are divorced, and i live with my mom and only visit my dad every other weekend. this summer, my mom wants me to go out of the country for 2 and a half weeks, and i do not want to go at all. my dad would not make me go if i didn’t want to. does he have any say in the situation?
      Dear Daniela: Sit down with both parents and explain to them calmly how you feel about this trip and why. Keep in mind that a short trip goes by very fast and may be a great experience – one that you’ll never forget and may give you the travel bug which is not a bad thing. Whichever way this goes, make the best of it. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Taylor bk.
      Mon, 10 May 2010 at 09:08

      I’m 16 years old I live in Louisiana. and my parents are divorced and I think my mom has full coustody of me and my sisters but I want my grandmother to have sole coustody over me. My grandmother already provides for me my whole life and I practiclly lived with her my entire life my grandmother has asked my mom for coustody by she say no. And the problem is my grandmother wants to make decions for me but my mom says no I can’t wait till I’m 18 to not have to avid by what my mother says what can I do???????
      Dear Taylor: If your mother has legal custody and you’re not in danger of being abused, you don’t have much choice but to live where she decides until you reach 18. She is legally responsible for you until you’re an adult. Have you tried to talk about this with both your Mom and grandmother? Maybe you can reach an agreement that is satisfactory to each of you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Sky
      Wed, 12 May 2010 at 01:15

      Hi, Judge. I’ve read a lot of the things you’ve said to others and just talked about at the top of the page, and its not giving me the answer I need. This may require a little help, I’m not sure. I’m 17 and will be 18 in a matter of months, but I can’t wait that long. My parents divorced in 2002 and I’m stuck with my dad for the time being. I really want to live with my mom and have tried to talk to my dad but he won’t listen. He refuses. I’m tired of living with him for personal reasons I cannot really explain for the time being. If, in Georgia, I am in fact 17 years of age and wish to leave, may I move in with my mom without my father’s consent or do I have to wait the miserable 4 months I have left?.
      Please, please help. I’m constantly emotionally stressed in his home and feel like I’m being hanged, caught by a noose, but he’s doing nothing for child services to interfere or stop.
      Thanks, Sky
      Dear Sky: Unfortunately, we can’t offer any additional advice in your situation other than sitting down and discussing with both parents, and maybe a counselor, the options. If there are custody orders in place, they must be followed until they are changed by court order or, during these final four months, your parents agree to a move to your Mom’s home. If there’s no basis for CPS to get involved you may have to stick it out the best you can. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Austin
      Wed, 12 May 2010 at 02:08

      I live in Georgia and I am 15 but I don’t want to go over to my dad’s house because he is violent. My mom has primary custody. But what age do I have to be to choose where I want to live.
      Dear Austin: At 15 you’re too young to decide where you live. It’s up to your parents to make this decision. Explain to your mother what the situation is and why you don’t want to go to your father’s. You could also tell a trusted adult [school counselor, relative or parent of a friend] if you are in danger of being abused. The National Child Abuse Hotline number is 1-800-4-A-CHILD. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Austin
      Wed, 12 May 2010 at 07:11

      Thanks for the advice it really did help but my dad has made death threats against my mom, step dad, and me and has hit my mom. What do I do? I’m scared he might actually try to kill my family if Child services gets involved
      Dear Austin: What you describe sounds like a matter for the police and CPS. One of the adults in your life should consider taking whatever measures are needed to protect you and your family. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Austin
      Wed, 12 May 2010 at 08:58

      Hi again, thanks for the help, but there is still one thing that bothers me. The last time my dad got the police involved they said I didn’t have to go if I didn’t feel safe. But my dad also said that he would file kidnapping charges against my mom the next time that would happen. I have also seen my dad punch my step mom on the highway. I’m afraid that if I do get CPS or the police involved he will hurt my mom, my half brothers, and my step mom when they show up on his doorstep. I just don’t know what to do. And he has done this for the last 13 years.
      Dear Austin: We cannot tell you what to do or provide any legal advice. If the police and/or CPS become involved they need to know the history of abuse and violence so they can take measures to protect everyone involved.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Sarah
      Sat, 15 May 2010 at 05:39

      Hi Judge.
      I am 17 years old and I live in Washington State. I am currently living with my dad and I see my mother every Wednesday and every other weekend. My dad does not physically or sexually abuse me but he does verbally and emotionally ( these are not the same right?). He does not let me do anything that a normal teenager gets to. He will not let me have friends over, go over friend’s houses, he wants me home all the time. He also has tried over the years to make it so that my time with my mother is limited. I should mention though that I have to go over to my grandmother’s house ( my mom’s mom) to see her because in the past she had problems with drugs, but she is clean now. What I want to know is can I just move out of my dad’s place and perhaps live with my grandmother or older sister (she is 14 years older than me.) who are both willing to take me. I would still be able to go to the same school and everything, it’s just it is getting harder and harder to live with him. Can you give me any advice? Thank you!
      Dear Sarah: It sounds like you have a few adults in your life that care about you and are willing to take you in. It would be best to talk with your Dad – tell him how you feel and why. Maybe a family meeting will result in a change for you. Since you’re less than a year from being an adult, your independence is just around the corner. However, if your parents fully support you financially, under the laws of your state you may have to listen to them until you’re independent. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Sarah
      Sat, 15 May 2010 at 08:06

      Hi judge it’s Sarah again!
      Thank you for the advice, but I think though if I try and talk to my Dad about how I feel and why I would want to live with my grandmother or older sister, i fear since he is a very controlling person and he raises his voice to intimidate people, that not much would happen, he has told me a couple of times when I have very meekly tried to tell him how I feel about my living situation he has screamed and yelled at me that if I do not like what he does for me then there’s the door. I am half tempted to leave, but I am afraid he would call the police and get my grandmother or mother in trouble and I have no desire to get them into trouble. Although if I did and went to my sister who is not mentioned at all in the parenting plan, would she get in trouble for housing me? And would the police take me back to my Dad’s place even if I am 17 and my birthday is in March of 2011? I just wish I could talk to him and he would listen, but I know he just won’t. Should I just wait or if things get bad and he tells me that there’s the door should I just go for it?
      Dear Sarah: It is possible for someone who takes you in against the orders in the parenting plan, if they knew what the orders were, to get into trouble. If the police became involved they may speak to both of your parents and attempt to resolve this. However, they are also required to comply with the court order, unless you were in danger of being abused. Good luck, Sarah.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Sarah
      Sun, 16 May 2010 at 10:00

      Okay thank you very much Judge, you have helped me a lot with your advice and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. Thank you again!

    • Austin
      Tue, 18 May 2010 at 07:22

      Thank you for the information I got CPS involved and everything is going great.
      You’re welcome, Austin. Glad to hear it.

    • Lauren
      Mon, 07 Jun 2010 at 02:04

      I am 17 years old and my sister is 13. My parents are getting a divorce and I want to make sure me and my sister will be able to live with my dad. My mom makes more monney than my dad but my dads raised us since we were little. We live in Tennessee and my mom has never been there for us while my dad has. I also want to make sure me and my sister will stay together whereever we go.
      Dear Lauren: Let your parents know your feelings about this. At your age they need to recognize that you’re almost an adult and have an opinion about where you live. As long as you’re a minor either your parents or the court will decide custody and visitation, but your input is important. Your sister can also speak up but the court may not hear her because she’s younger. All the best.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Candace
      Fri, 11 Jun 2010 at 12:31

      My parents are getting a divorce and i am 17 and my sister is 15.My mom has a ‘friend’ and he has been arrested for beating his current wife and drugs.
      He wants my mom to get the house and us so he can move in and be supported.my mom has a job as a teachers aid and my dad makes more money than her and he wants custody.I feel like i have to stay in my house now because i am pregnant and i already have a nursery set up.is there any way the courts can say that my mom cant have custody as long as she is seeing her ‘friend’and will the courts consider what my sister wants?or is there any way i can choose to live on my own or with my boyfriends parents across the highway or my cousin since i cannot get a job at the moment?
      Dear Candace: You have a lot going on and some good questions. If your parents don’t agree on custody and visitation for you and your sister, the court will decide based on what’s in your best interests. Make sure you let your parents and the court know what you’d like to see happen and why. You’re old enough to speak your mind considering you’ll be an adult in less than a year. Discuss with them the possibility of moving in with your boyfriend’s family if that’s a good situation. You have a good point regarding your Mom’s ‘friend.’ The court may not approve of him living with her as long as you two are there. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with your parents about this, talk to another adult that you trust. You might also be appointed a lawyer or guardian by the court depending on the practice in your area. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Lura
      Mon, 14 Jun 2010 at 10:58

      My parents are fixing to get a divoce but what if i dont want to live with ether of them becase my dad understands me and my mom only shows my aperciatioin when she buys me clothes and my mom is sum time moving to Virgina, but my dad is staying in Gerogia. I love Virgina and i dont want to stay with my mom all the time and i know i will because my dad doesn’t want to fight for me becuse he knows he going to lose all custody becase of hi acohol problem and drunkness and I don’t know whats going to happen and i like it better when we were all togeather and i rather be at an relitive than be with my mom and dad.
      Dear Lura: We sorry to hear about what’s going on. It would be best if you sit down with your parents and explain to them how you feel and why. You didn’t mention your age, but you may have a say about who you live with depending on your state laws. If you’re over 14, for example, the court may want to know what you think. If that’s the case, make sure you speak up. In order to live with a relative, your parents would have to agree and the court approve the placement as in your best interests. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • John
      Wed, 16 Jun 2010 at 06:41

      My parents are thinking of divorcing and I live in Florida And I’m 13 and my mom is thinking of living with my oldest sister and my dad will live with my younger sister and me do you think I can see my sister and my mom regularly because I don’t think my dad will let me see them.
      Dear John: It’s up to your parents to work out the custody and visitation arrangements when they get divorced. If they can’t agree, then a court will step in and make the decisions based on what’s in your best interests and what’s best for your siblings. Courts usually try to maintain contact among brothers and sisters unless it would be damaging in some way to one of them. We hope this works out for you, John. Be strong and patient.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Carlo
      Sun, 27 Jun 2010 at 12:19

      Hi, My name is Carlo
      Since the age of 3 i have lived with my grandmother. My mom gave birth to me at the age of 18 and during the years of her raising me there were some struggles, therefore she decided to give my grandmother temporary custody of me. My grandmother took me and was supposed to give my mom a paper every couple months or so that she was supposed to sign saying whether or not my mother was ready to take me back or not. My grandmother never gave my mom these papers. I have heard that by the age of 12 my grandmother had full custody of me. I am 14 right now and i turn 15 in July. I would like to live with my mom because i don’t like living with my grandmother and i haven’t for the past couple of years. About 10 years ago my mom had some criminal offenses charged to her but she is clean and sober now. I would like to go to court with my mom and for my mom to get custody of me from my grandmother. If i go to court with my mom what do you think the chances of my mom getting custody of me and will her criminal record play a big part in the case? Also will the judge listen to what i have to say since i will be 15 when the case hits the court room? Thank you.
      Dear Carlo: Before going to court think about sitting down with your Mom and grandmother and talking about a change of custody. Explain to both how and why you’d like to live with your Mom. You could possibly avoid the expense and aggravation of going to court. Whether the court would allow you to live with your Mom depends on a number of things. Her criminal record may not be an obstacle depending on the charges and whether she successfully completed her probation or parole. Also her current status is very important – as you said she is now “clean and sober” which is good. The court may want to talk with you about living with your Mom so be honest and straightforward since is about your future. Many courts want to hear from teens your age since you’re approaching adulthood in a few years. Good luck, Carlo.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Carlo
      Mon, 28 Jun 2010 at 01:48

      Thank you, and i have already tried to sit down and talk with my grandmother and she just doesn’t understand why i don’t want to live with her and why i want to live with my mom. She has such a problem with me living with my mom because she thinks she is not responsible but i know that she is, because right when i enter her life everything will be different for her. So if worse comes to worse i will go to court, but i am highly considering it right now.
      Dear Carlo: Maybe in time your grandmother will come around. It might help for your Mom to sit down and talk with her so she can see that your Mom is stable and would be beneficial to your future. All the best.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Alex
      Mon, 28 Jun 2010 at 07:14

      Hi. Im 14 and my parents are divorced and have split custody but i was wondering when i can choose where i live. I only want to live with my mom so when can i choose?
      Dear Alex: Until you turn 18, it’s not as easy as turning 15, for example, and then deciding where you want to live. Your state may have a law or a rule of court that allows judges to speak with teens about which parent or relative they’d like to live with. But their opinion is not binding on the court. The court has to decide what’s in the child’s best interests taking all factors into consideration. Now that you’re getting older, sit down with both parents and calmly explain how you feel and why you like to change the living arrangements. You might be surprised at their response. They were teens once and may have experienced some of what you’re going through. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Julie
      Wed, 30 Jun 2010 at 09:59

      Dear Judge,
      I live in Florida and am currently 16 years old, I have a younger sister who is 13. My father has been frequently leaving us, to go to other women. My parents are now in the prcess of getting a divorce. As of late he has started some abusive behaviour some of the following are: -Recording us without our knowledge or consent to try to use our words against our mom.
      -Stopped funding, (my mom doesn’t work, so we are without income)
      -He didn’t no allow us to go to school (causing us to miss exams) because we did not let him drive us since we felt unsafe.
      -He has sent emails to our peers, friends, and aquatainces harrassing my mom, telling lies, and divulging family matters.
      -And a few other things
      While some of this can be proven, most of it is our word against his. He is a wonderful actor, and can normally with a few smiles have the confidence of those around him. We have gotten a lawyer, but it still seems that we might have to visit him, which I would really detest. Is there some way to get out of it? Can I go to court and testify against his actions? I do not know what to do, any advice on this matter
      would be much appreciated, Thank you greatly.
      Dear Julie: Talk with your lawyer about everything you’ve outlined here. Your concerns should be known to the adults involved in your case. If your parents don’t come to an agreement about custody asnd visitation, the judge will decide what’s in your and your sister’s best interests. Good luck, Julie.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Brittney
      Thu, 01 Jul 2010 at 06:28

      Hi, I’m 13, going to be 14 in September, my parents are pretty sure that they’re getting a divorce, and they say that the papers are filed. I want to know if I can choose to go with my dad full time because me and my mom are always fighting and I really don’t like her. Do I have a say in where I live?
      Dear Brittney: You may have a say about custody and visitation but that depends on the laws in your state. Talk with your parents about this and what you’d like to see happen. Explain why you feel the way you do and it may help them come to a decision. You may also have a chance to tell the judge and he or she will decide what’s in your best interests. Good luck, Brittney.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jerilyn Diane Leon
      Fri, 02 Jul 2010 at 09:22

      Hi my names jerilyn and my parents have recently divorced.
      I always knew they would and i always knew that i could chose
      whom i would like to live with. Now i have too many problems
      with my mother. I live with her now and to be honest I literally
      dislike living with her. Ever since I was a child I never was close
      to my mother our problems increased and are horrible. after time as
      i got older they decreased and got less uh Ill say aggressive but the verbal fights are huge and I can not take it anymore with her . we’ve had about maybe 5 physical encounters in the last 3
      maybe 4 years. i am now 15 years old and because of the problems me
      and my mother have i have lost hope in anything with her, to the
      point at times i dont want to see hear or be near her. now my father.
      is the most amazing person. I love him so much. ever since i can
      remember i was alway a daddy’s girl and that will never change. he
      doesn’t judge me he cares doesn’t criticize me. I feel comfortable
      and actually happy with him I feel protected and it feels right when I am with him I can be myself not be the type of person he wants but accepts me for me and is happy and content with it. We have a lot in common. hardly argue Usually only if I did something wrong which I understand fully as a parent he has a right to do so but he does it in a way that I can comprehend the point as to why he gets mad or punishes me. I want to live with him. Very badly. But the problem is the reason for my parents divorce is because or domestic violence from past to a few years ago both verbal and in very very very few cases physical but not anything to bad or nothing extremely serious well nto saying the physical wasn’t wrong it was I know this and am aware of it. But the verbal gets scary for it always went on for the most ridiculous matters and was so frequent so that is when the divorce was filed. Now my mother uses against my father as being a not great man or father. see we dont have much money and are a lower standard of middle class. So child support is hard to come by for him. And she uses my father is a drinker,Yes he drinks and I am aware f this but he is not addicted or can be considered and alcoholic. He does not do drugs but works alot. My Parents are both actually very hard workers to maintain our lifestyle. Also she points out the my fathers high and easily set temper. I know his temper I know what can set him off and why and it is usually understandable. He doesn’t go off on me much. My father has never fully blown up but at times if in a way he is near it. Later he always apologizes and I believe him. I can see how he really means it. Now both My parents Live in Jacksonville Florida. One on the westide and the other on the south-side of town. My father lives on the south-side and I want to move over there for I am not comfortable in this side of town. See im not sure but if I can see if I cold be with my father I will really want to try.But i am not sure how I can do this? and if my mother tries to use all that and more against him. I can use all i know of her and me and hers relationship and past I can most likely counteract it and probably over come it. I guess can you please help me on what I can do here in this situation? I have no other options…
      Dear Jerilyn: Depending on the laws in your state, you may have a say regarding custody and visitation when your parents divorce. Explain to both parents what you’d like to see happen and why. As you get holder your opinion carries more weight since you’re approaching adulthood. If your parents can’t reach an agreement, the court will decide what’s in your best interests. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice3].

    • Jerilyn Diane Leon
      Fri, 02 Jul 2010 at 09:26

      I am so sorry about length but I would also like to add… My father and me have once several times talked about living with him and hes fine with it. at a time Ive written him and over 1600 word say as too why I want to live with him a few years ago… Now my mother doesn’t want me to do this. She wants me to stay with her. So I really want to know do i have a say in this at all??
      Dear Jerilyn: There is a difference between having a legal say and being able to express your views with your parents. They should both understand how you feel. Your state laws and local court practice dictate whether you can actually speak with a judge about custody and visitation. Depending on your age if this ends up in court, the judge may want to talk with you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tyler
      Fri, 09 Jul 2010 at 05:05

      Dear Sir or Ma’am, I could really use some advice. I’m 23 and married. I’m a member of the Army currently searving in Iraq, but I will be back from my deployment very soon. My parents decided to get a divorce while I am away at war. I have 5 younger sibblings. An 18 year old brother that will likely get to choose what he wants to do. A 13 year old sister that is currently with my mother, and 2 little brothers (9 and 11) that are with my dad. My parents are being unbelevably selfish. They are making this whole ordeal a nasty painfull process that will no doubt scar my sibblings for a long time. I know it’s killing me and I don’t have to worry about who I’m going to live with. There are many variable that are going to come into play, including rape alligations and mental instabilitie and adaulty and general creulty and decipt. Basically I’ve nearly lost faith in both of them as capable parents. I have a good, stable, well paying job, a supportive wife and a top secret security clearence. Is it possible for someone in my position to get custody of my younger sibblings, or at least my little sister, when both my parents are alive. I would just feel much more comfortable if I knew I could provide a stable living enviroment for them while they grow up, rather than the chaos I’m expecting. Is it even possible for me to be considered in the custody awarding process. I live in VA by the way. Thanks you for reading this. I hope you can offer some advice on how I can help my sibblings. Sincerely, Tyler
      Dear Tyler: Your questions are important and deserve an answer even though Askthejudge.info is a site for teens about the law. It is possible, but difficult, to obtain legal custody of a sibling when parents are alive and also willing to care for them. The bottom line in all states regarding custody of children is what is in the best interests of the child. You would need to show the court that their emotional or physical safety is at risk by being with Mom and Dad. You need to show more than the fact that you could provide a better environment for them. It is fundamental law that parents have the right to bring up their children. Only when substantial neglect or physical/sexual abuse is present can children be removed from their parents. The laws of your state also come into play regarding the court’s jurisdiction and the authority the judge has to grant your request. We suggest you speak with a family law attorney in your state about this. You might be able to obtain a free consulation for the first 30-60 minutes. Good luck, and thanks for your service to our country.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Kasey
      Mon, 12 Jul 2010 at 05:31

      My parrents have joint custody over me but i wanna live with my aunt. I’m 17 and by the time i get to court ill be 18 what can i do to live with her before my school year starts?
      Dear Kasey: At your age you could explain to both of your parents what you’d like to do and your reasons. With court orders in place regarding joint custody, you’re legally required to follow them unless you’re in danger of abuse or neglect. If that’s the case, Child Protective Services should be notified. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jade
      Sat, 17 Jul 2010 at 07:18

      Hello, I am 8 years old and live in North Carolina. My parents have been divorced since I was 2. My question is can I speak with anyone about me choosing to visit with my dad on week ends? I miss out on so many things in school and where I live because he lives in a different city than I do. Who can I talk to?
      Dear Jade: The best thing for you to do is speak with both of your parents. Explain to them how you feel about the visits and why you’d like to change the schedule. Your parents were students, too, and understand about activities during and after school days. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about this, maybe you have a close aunt, uncle or grandparent that you can ask for help. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • michael
      Thu, 22 Jul 2010 at 11:05

      hi I’m michael I’m 12 bout to turn 14 and I live with my mom but I don’t want to any more I want to live with my dad but he soes not have a houses he lives in a camper at my grandparents house can I stay at my grandparents housee amail me you need this
      Dear Michael: We know some people consider the number 13 unlucky. For example, many buildings don’t have a 13th floor. But you can’t just skip your 13th year, right?
      Anyway, if your parents agree that you can live with your grandparents, then it’s possible. If there are court orders regarding your custody, they may have to be changed. Otherwise, because of your age, you’re required to live where your parents decide is best for you. Maybe in talking with all of them, including your grandparents, a resolution can be reached. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Eyinnin
      Tue, 27 Jul 2010 at 10:34

      Dear Judge my name is eyinnin fron New Jersey, I am 14 living with mom. I am spending the summer with my dad in hawaii (military) and I want to stay here for many reasons.

      Do I have to go back to New Jersey? My mom said i have to and she is stubborn about it.
      Dear Eyinnen: As a minor you have to listen to your parents and follow any court orders that have been issued in your parent’s divorce or separation case. If a judge has granted them shared custody there is most likely a visitation schedule that has to be followed until it’s modified by the court. So, you should talk with both parents about your feelings and thoughts about this and see if you can reach an agreement. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Emily
      Wed, 28 Jul 2010 at 09:58

      I am 18 just turned 18 in june and I am leaving for college in August! And my parents are divorced do they have to help pay for college or do they have to pay for child support that I can use for college ? In till I complete it or drop out ?
      Dear Emily: To find the answer to your question you need to look at the final order from the court granting your parent’s divorce. Every state has laws regarding child support including education expenses that may continue after a child turns 18. You could also Google the name of your state and “divorce college expenses” for more information on this. Your parents should also be familiar with their obligations under the divorce orders. Good luck & study hard.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Isaac
      Sat, 31 Jul 2010 at 12:30

      I am 13 turning 14 in august and last night i finnaly broke down of what is going on between my parents there not divorced but they act like they are i found out last summer that my mom wanted to get a divorce and it hurt me inside to hear that and my brother ran out of the room crying what should i do ive kept it in until last night
      Dear Isaac: We’re sorry to hear about what’s going on at home. It may be best to talk with both parents about how you feel. If you can sit down with them and calmly tell them what you know and what you’d like to know, you may be surprised at the outcome. They could explain the situation to you, confirm their love for you and set your mind at ease about the future. That doesn’t mean they’ll stay together but at least you’ll understand what’s happening and that you won’t be losing either parent. Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself for anything. You’re a kid and they’re adults. Their decisions aren’t based on you or anything you’ve done. All the best, Isaac.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Stepan
      Sun, 01 Aug 2010 at 08:00

      hello. i need help please my mom has cheated on us and she divorced us after that we found out and now shes blaming it on my aunt for divrcing my dads marriage. and i cant stand living with her from month to month switching and i want to live with my dad but she wont let me everytime i bring it up she hits me and whenever i want to call my dad or talk to him she always shuts the comp, takes the batteries out of the telephone and she doesnt want me to see my dad can u help me
      Dear Stepan: Since you said you’re switching each month between your Mom and Dad, we suggest you speak with your father about this when you’re with him again. He may be able to talk with your Mom about different living arrangements. You didn’t mention your age but as you get older and closer to adulthood at 18, your opinion makes a difference. If you’re under 14, for example, what you think and feel is also important and should be known by the adults in your life. Talk with someone you trust. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Cant SAy
      Mon, 02 Aug 2010 at 06:15

      I am a 16 yearold girl and I have 7 other siblings. Our parents have been fighting a lot, and most of the time it is because my mom wants something important done around the house, but my dad won’t do it. He says “it is too much money” and stuff like that, when we all know that we definatley have the money, because the next day he will spend the money on something stupid. I feel really bad for my dad, because lately my mom has been almost kicking him out of the house. For instance, he came home from work tonight and my mom said to just leave when none of us kids heard her, so he comes into the kitchen when we r eating dinner, and says that he is going to work at his office in town, and my yongest siblings all yelled out to him “WHAT ABOUT EATING” it just broke my heart. His has been going on for a long time and it seems to be getting even worse. I don’t want them to get a divorce, I don’t want to be that kind of fAmily. I’m really scared and I don’t k ow whT to say to them or anyone. And whenever my younger siblings say ” where is daddy” I can’t stop thinking about when the time is coming for them to divorce.
      Dear Cant SAy: We’re sorry to hear about the situation at home. Oftentimes parents on the verge of splitting up don’t always keep what’s best for the kids in mind. If you’re the oldest in your family, you need someone you can confide in. If you can’t speak with your parents about this, seek out a close family member or parent of a friend that you trust to talk with in confidence. As the oldest you might sit down with both parents for an open discussion about your family. If your parents end up separating or getting a divorce, you are certainly not alone. And you are not responsible for what happens. Your future is up to you – being from “that kind of family” should not affect your life or hold you back in any way. Be strong and positive for yourself and your siblings.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • candy
      Thu, 05 Aug 2010 at 11:58

      I am 16 and live in Texas,I want to live with my dad but my mom dosen’t want to let me. My mom caught me when I tried drugs and now thinks I only want to live with my dad because of that. When they were getting divorce my dad tried to get custody of me but my mom wanted to drug test him. At the time he was dirty so my mom got shared custody and we have to live with her. Would that cause any problems if he tried again to get custody. I already tried talking to her about it and she just said no and would not continue the discussion. Also my mom is going to school at night and when she gets into some program she will be gone all day, and it will be very hard to get in touch with her if that helps
      Dear Candy: In most states, one side or the other in a divorce can return to court for modification of custody orders only if there’s a substantial change of circumstances. Usually a year has to pass since the last court order before filing a petition for modification. In order for your father to request custody he’ll need to have verification that he’s been clean for a substantial period of time [urine or blood tests]. You may have to make the best of this until you’re an adult. Try calmly discussing this with both parents. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • candu
      Fri, 06 Aug 2010 at 12:13

      I am 16 and I live in Texas. I want to move in with my dad but my mom won’t let me. When my parents were getting divorced my dad tried to get custody of him but my mom wanted him to take a drug test, he was dirty at the time so he didn’t and the judge ordered us to live my mom. At the same time my mom found out I had tried marijuana and now thinks I only want to live with my dad to do drugs. Right now my mom works full time and goes to college at night and we can’t call her in case of an emergency bacause she has to turn her phone off. In a couple of months she will get into a program for her school that will take up all her day and she will have to have her phone off. So is there anything I can do and thank you.
      Dear Candu: The best approach to your desire to live with your Dad is to talk calmly with both parents. As you get closer to adulthood they recognize the importance of you making some of your own decisions. However, if they can’t agree on the living arrangements you’ll have to follow what the court has ordered. Until that order is changed by the judge it must be followed. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jess
      Tue, 24 Aug 2010 at 11:36

      hi, i am 13 years old and my parents have decided to divorce. i am really worried because within the next week, they are going to a mediator or something like that. i always thought of my friend’s family, and how her parents are divorced, and how awful it must be to not be able to live with both of her parents. Now it is happening to me, and I’ve never felt so depressed! i am really worried that things will be so different than usual. For example, i dont know what i will do when only one of my parents are here on christmas morning, when after all 13 years of my life, both my parents have been there. please help me!
      Dear Jess: We’re sorry to hear about your family’s situation. First, remember that whatever the reasons for your parents getting a divorce, don’t think it’s your fault or that you’re to blame. They are adults and make decisions in their lives about what’s best for them and you. Things will be different for you but that doesn’t mean bad. Talk with your friend and ask her about how it is with her parents. It’s painful at first but things do get better especially if you keep talking with both parents. Let them know how you’re feeling and why. The purpose for mediation is to sit down and calmly discuss the future. They’ll talk about custody and visitation which means you’ll still have both parents but not at the same time. If you don’t feel that you can open up to your parents, then find another relative or close family friend to talk to. This is not the time to keep things bottled up inside – you have to take care of yourself and be strong. All the best, Jess.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • erica
      Wed, 22 Sep 2010 at 03:47

      Hi I just found out today that my mom wants to get a divorce with my dad and I’m really scared. They have been fighting a lot recently over issues about my brother and I and I feel like it’s my fault. I really don’t want them to get a divorce. If they do get a divorce, what will happen? I am turning 16 in a month and my brother is 18. Am i going to be separated from my brother? My mom has a lower income than my dad, would that make a difference? I would rather they have shared custody but my mom might move back to Taiwan and my dad travels constantly since he is a business man. He is out of the states at least 6 month per year and I really doubt my mom would want to stay here because she never wanted to stay here ever since we moved here 10 years ago. Would my brother be my legal guardian since he is 18? or is it the age of 21? Thanks.
      Dear Erica: All of your concerns are understandable and will be addressed in time. The important thing is to let your parents know how you feel and why. You and your brother must also understand that your parents’ breakup is not your fault. They are adults and make their own decisions. At 16, you’re old enough to express your opinion so they know how to handle the issues of custody and visitation. It is not likely that your 18 year old brother would get legal custody, but anything is possible. If your parents go to court to settle these issues, make sure you let the judge know your position. Good luck and be patient. It may take a while to sort everything out and your life settles down.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Pat Williams
      Thu, 23 Sep 2010 at 10:25

      I was 8 when my parents split. Now, unfortunately I am going through a divorce myself. I am determined to be civil for the sake of my kids. I don’t want a messy divorce like I remember my parents having. I have found a lot of great advice for divorce online at http://www.dadsdivorce.com. From legal advice, to emotional advice, to the forums with people like me going through this process. It’s very therapeutic.
      Dear Pat: Thanks for your comments and we hope everything is going well with your children and new life.

    • SethDavis
      Tue, 28 Sep 2010 at 02:41

      my parents are getting a devorce and i dont know what to do its like im not even alive right now
      Dear Seth: We’re sorry to hear about your circumstances. Perhaps you could try sitting down with your parents and tell them how you feel about the situation and they may be able to provide you some reassurance if they understand where you’re coming from. Your parents may have no idea how you feel, so expressing yourself could make you feel better and your parents realize how much their relationship is affecting you. If you feel like you can’t talk to your parents, then consider talking to a school counselor, another relative you trust, or even your friends’ parents if you feel comfortable. Many teens and kids are going through the same thing right now, so you are not alone. You could also call the Girls and Boy Town National Hotline to speak to a counselor about your concerns. The number is 1-800-448-3000. Take care of yourself and good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • anna vannessa
      Sun, 03 Oct 2010 at 05:32

      my mum and dad is divorced,and i really hate it,i feel sad seeing my friends being together with their family,sometimes i wish that they never divorced,i had a brother and another lil bro,im the only girl in the family,since their divorced,i have chosen my mum to live with instead of my dad,but still i love my dad,but when some fights come,my big brother will hit me and punch me till i dont feel like going to school again,but my mum keeps defending him instead of defending me,i tried killing myself a couple of times,but didnt,i didnt know why i didnt just slice my wrist but maybe it wasn’t for me to die,why divorce excist.?why.?i wish i was never born into this world
      Dear Anna: We are sorry to hear of your troubles but don’t give up. As your email address indicates, you are a very cool girl with a lot to look forward to. It’s not always easy to get through each week, but wake up every morning with positive thoughts. Talk with someone you trust about what’s going on. You’ll be surprised how helpful another person can be when you need someone to confide in. Do you have a school counselor, relative or teacher you can go to? If so, don’t wait. There is help out there for all of us – all we have to do is ask. So, Anna, here are some numbers to call anytime of day or night if your thoughts become dark and you see no way out.
      Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255
      If you’re not in the United States you can go online to the international hotline at: http://www.suicide.org for your country’s helpline. Take care of yourself, Anna, and let us know if we can provide any additional information.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Alanna
      Thu, 07 Oct 2010 at 01:57

      Okay so my mom died in March and my father is no where to be found. My grandparents have gotten custody of me and my sister, which is no problem at all. but the school I go to, i really dont like it, I’m so miserable. I have an aunt that lives 35 minutes away and my cousin goes to a good high school and i really want to go there. Is there any possibility that i can live with my aunt and see how that goes so my grandma and grandpa and sister can stay at the house and they dont have to move, on my account.
      Dear Alanna: We’re sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom. Where you live and with whom is a decision for the adults in your life. Explain to your grandparents and aunt what you want to happen and why. If they understand your thoughts and feelings about this, they can work something out especially since both homes are close by. If your grandparents have a court order giving them custody, that can be changed if you’re all in agreement. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Brooke
      Thu, 21 Oct 2010 at 09:36

      I am 11 and live with my mom. My brother is 13 and lives with our dady. My mom let him live there when he was 5. I have been wanting to live with my dad since I was 8 but my mom wont let me. She told me a long time ago that I could live with dad if my brother lived with her but he didnt. Now he does because my mom bought him a dirt bike so that he would want to. I never stopped telling my mom I wanted to live with my dad and she gets angry when I tell her and tells me she doesnt want to hear me say that anymore. My mom told my dad he needed to let my brother come live with her cause thats what he wants. My dad said he will if she lets me live with him cause thats what I want and its not right to let my brother choose and not me. She said no because she knows I dont really want to live with him I just think I do. But thats not true cause I really do want to live with him and wanted to for a long long time now. I am happiest when I am with him and my other little brother and step sister and step mom. We told our mom and dad where we wanted to live and they wont agree because myy mom told her friend my dad doesnt want to pay money and my dad told my older sister she wont let me cause she wants both of us so that she will get money. my older sister is grown up but my mom let her live with my dad when she was in high school. My older sister and my brother got to live with my dad and I lived with my mom. Its not fair they got to live where they wanted and I dont. How do I talk to a judge so that he will make my mom let me? I forgot to say that we live in texas.
      Dear Brooke: You’re in the same situation that many kids across the country find themselves in. Unless there is evidence that a parent is abusive toward a child, courts don’t get involved with moving kids back and forth between parents. It may not seem fair to you because your brothers and sisters have gone back and forth, but you may have to accept the decisions of your parents and remain with your Mom. As you get older and closer to adulthood, you’ll have more say in where you live. But at the moment you’ll have to make the best of this situation. When you get upset over this, talk with someone in your family that you trust and can open up to. Perhaps you can try to explain to both parents your feelings and try to reach an agreement regarding the time you spend with each. Good luck, Brooke.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Stephanie
      Mon, 01 Nov 2010 at 01:18

      hi. im 16 years old and i have a question about who i would want to live with. yu see my parents have been divorced for 9 years and i just dont want to live with my mother anymore. we just dont see eye to eye anymore. so what do i have to do to let my dad get custody of me. i havent told my mom yet about wanting to move in with my dad but i know she would be against it but can it be my decision? and also what would happen if i were to runaway? lets say the court denies me moving in with my dad if i were to runaway do you think it would make everything worse? its just that me and my mom! she just gets me soo frusterated that i wanna kill myself at times!and i think its best to not live with my mom anymore before i do someting stupid.
      Dear Stephanie: It would be best if you speak with your Dad about this and maybe he and you together can discuss it with your Mom. You’re old enough at sixteen to have an opinion about who you live with, but the decision may ultimately be up to the court if it gets to that. Custody can be changed if both parents agree without having to go to court. But it depends on all of the circumstances and the bottom line is what is in your best interests. So, explain how you feel and why to someone you trust – either your parents or a relative. Running away doesn’t solve anything and could make things worse for yourself. If it would help to talk with a school counselor consider this option. Don’t do something stupid, as you say, because your life will get much better but you have to be around to see it happen. If you get to a low point, call 1-800-273-8255 – the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We’ll be thinking of you, Stephanie. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • erin
      Fri, 12 Nov 2010 at 05:02

      hi i am 16 going to be 17 and i live in pennsylvania. in the beginning of decemeber. my parents are going through a messy messy divorce. currently alot of arrangments of when i can see my dad are made through my mom and a court appointed therepist. at 16/17 do i have a right to go any stay with who ever i want without getting my dad in trouble with the law.
      Dear Erin: We’re sorry to hear about this situation. Since a court is involved you’ll need to follow the judge’s orders regarding custody and visitation. You aren’t an adult yet, so you don’t call the shots. But you are old enough to have and be able to voice an opinion. It may help to sit down with both parents and calmly explain how you feel and why. They were both your age at one time and should understand. Also explain to the therapist your position. All the best, Erin.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Zoe
      Sat, 20 Nov 2010 at 10:13

      Dear Judge,
      I am 13, I live in Hong Kong and my parents are discussing a divorce. If they do end up getting one, my mom says she’ll be getting full custody of me, and that I have no choice in the matter, but I want to live with my dad. We argue a lot and she’s hit me before. She claims that legally, full custody ALWAYS goes to the mother. I’m pretty sure this isn’t true, but does custody normally go to the mother? She also says that since my dad works until five or six in the evening and has business trips sometimes while she doesn’t work at all means that she’ll definitely get custody of me, but I want to know if I have a say in who I end up with. My father and I have a much better relationship than my mother and I and we have a helper, even though I’m old enough to look after myself when he’s gone. Does this affect anything? Or do I still go to my mom?
      Dear Zoe: If your parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, then it will be up to the court to decide what’s in your best interests. The older you get, the more likely the judge may want to hear from you. At 13, the judge may or may not ask to speak with you about your feelings. Perhaps you could try sitting down with both of your parents and explain to them how you feel and why. They may be able to compromise and work out an arrangement where you get to see both parents. If you believe that you are being physically abused, you need to tell an adult you trust (maybe your father) or click here for a directory of Child Protective Services and phone numbers to call in your area. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Christian M
      Sun, 28 Nov 2010 at 06:31

      i am 15 years old.
      my mum wants me to move country with her but i want to stay with my step dad, do i get to chose who i stay with someone help please. i live in the UK
      Dear Christian: Generally speaking, custodial parents get to choose what is in the best interests of their children as long as it does not harm the child or break the law. Perhaps, you could try sitting down with your mother and step-father and calmly tell them how you feel and why it’s important to you to stay where you are (school, friends, etc.). They may not fully understand how you feel and might be willing to make arrangements based on your feelings. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • lis
      Fri, 03 Dec 2010 at 07:08

      Dear Judge: I’m from South America and got married 4 years ago with an american. I’m a legal resident in US, but now things are not working with my husband. We had a baby this year. If things don’t work out (hopefully they will) and if we end up getting a divorce. What are my rights as a housewife (no job outside the house) so my husband is the one providing? Does it mean I’m gonna lose custody of my baby bcs I have no job? IF I decide to go back to my country, do I have the rights to take my son with me?
      Thank you!
      Dear Lis: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. Hopefully for the two of you and your baby everything will work out. This website is an educational resource for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you contact a family lawyer and/or an immigration attorney. If you call a lawyer for advice, ask if he or she provides a free consultation before you agree to hire the lawyer. Many lawyers do this in hopes of getting your business, but there’s no obligation for a consultation. We will also tell you that the mere fact that you’re unemployed is generally not a reason to grant custody to the other parent. It may be one factor in the court’s decision regarding what is in the child’s best interests. But other factors are also considered. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Kylie
      Wed, 29 Dec 2010 at 11:00

      Hi I’m kylie. I’m 11 years old and my parents are getting a divorce. I have a 17 year old brother. I want to live with my mom and so does my brother. It’s not that I have any problems with my dad or anything but I just wanna live with my mom. And I don’t want to be split from my brother either. Right now we all live in one house since my parents didn’t even go to court or anything. I’m wondering who will get to keep this house. I wanna to stay here because all my friends are here. I’m just so scared. I don’t wanna split the holidays I don’t wanna change adresses.
      Dear Kylie: We’re sorry to hear about your parent’s divorce. We understand how you feel about leaving your home and wanting to stay together with your older brother. It’s important that you let your parents know what you’re thinking and how you feel. They will listen to you and take your feelings into consideration. If they end up in court to decide where you live and visiting times with your other parent, the judge’s job is to decide what is best for you and your brother. You may get a chance to talk with the judge or you can write the judge a letter. Good luck – we’ll be thinking about you.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Christina
      Fri, 25 Mar 2011 at 06:30

      I am 16 and live in New York and my parents are getting a divorce and what if I don’t want to live with either of my parents? I don’t have any family members close by in my school district, but my brothers are 22 and 18. Could my brothers and I live on our own? Or can I move in with a friend?
      Dear Christina: We’re sorry to hear about this. Because you’re a minor it’s not your decision about where you’ll live once your parents are divorced. You may have some input because of your age, but they have the legal responsibility to provide for you. It would be best to sit down with them, and maybe your adults brothers as well, to discuss your future living situation. Otherwise, the court will decide the issue of custody and visitation. A judge’s responsibility is to decide what’s in the child’s best interests taking everything into consideration including your position. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Talisa
      Fri, 15 Apr 2011 at 11:02

      well im 16 bout to be 17 in july and my mom wants me to live with her and i want to to but my dad wont let me and neither have custody of me by law can i move in with my mom
      Dear Talisa: Since you are a minor, you’re required to obey your parents. In the absence of a court order, they both share legal custody over you. If there is no formal court order regarding custody or visitation, the best way to handle this is to sit down with both parents and calmly discuss the situation. They were teenagers once and may understand your feelings and why you want to move to your mom’s home. You could also speak with a school counselor or lawyer about this situation. Many lawyers provide a free consultation for the first 30 minutes or so. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Hunter
      Wed, 04 May 2011 at 07:21

      I am 16 years old. my parents may be getting a devorce this summer. i live in TENNESSEE. i do not want anything to do with my dad if this happens. do i have a say-so in my living arangments?
      Dear Hunter: First, we’re sorry to hear of your parent’s situation and the affect it will have on you. Many courts want to hear from older teens when it comes to custody and visitation. Your input would help the court decide what’s in your best interests. You may have an opportunity to speak directly with the judge, or you may be appointed a lawyer or guardian who will represent you. Either way, explain yourself and the reasons you prefer to live with your Mom over your Dad. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jacob
      Thu, 26 May 2011 at 09:48

      Hi judge,

      My parents are getting divorced, the problem is, my dad has “exposed himself” several times to random women, he has mental problems he has to deal with. And doesn’t even remember doing any of them till afterwards, I’m scared he might face jail time, but maybe since it’s a mental problem he might not, what do you think? Do you also think he will have custody over my siblings? I don’t think the judge will allow that any how but still. My life is in absolute horrible conditions before I even knees this was happening, and now it feels like my world will come crashing down on me. Mostly financially because my parents struggled paying bills together with 3 children, and now its probably my mother, me (15) and 2 brothers (6,4) I need to stay in this house, school, and city because my life is too hard to deal with. And now I have this too. In not really worried about my parents. I’m REALLY worried financially about what might happen.
      Dear Jacob: We’re sorry to hear about your circumstances. Whether your dad receives any jail time will depend on the charges he’s facing, the facts and circumstances of the case(s) and his criminal history. If he’s being represented by an attorney, he/she should be able to give him an idea of whether or not jail is likely. It’s possible that mental health treatment will be part of his sentence. His case(s) could certainly affect the liklihood of him getting custody. If your parents can’t agree over custody arrangements and the judge has to decide what’s best, there’s a good chance the judge will want to hear from you about how you feel since you are 15. Perhaps you could try talking to your school counselor about your concerns and worries. The counselor also may be able to refer your family to local social services that could provide different forms of financial assistance to your mom. Please take care of yourself.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Antonia
      Tue, 21 Jun 2011 at 09:34

      I’m 13 years old and my parents have been separated for a few years because my dad has cheated on my mom. My mom might be getting a divorce and I’m not sure who I’m going to be living with. My dad lives somewhere with his girlfriend who has another child. I also have a sister who is 11. I live in Virginia and I’d rather live with my mom than with my dad because I don’t appreciate what he’s been doing. And my question is, who do you think I’ll end up living with?
      Dear Antonia: We’re sorry to hear about this situation. However, at your age, you may have a say when and if a divorce is filed with the court. The judges who decide where you will live want to hear from children usually age 13 and up. So, you may get a chance to express your wishes either in writing to the judge or possibly in person. They are required to make the custody decision based on your best interests – so feel free to explain what you’d like to see happen and why. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Morgan
      Sun, 03 Jul 2011 at 05:02

      Hello there, I am currently 18, and my parents are now getting divorced now that I have graduated. I would prefer to float between the two because my father lives in the country and my mom now lives in town. I have been told that since I am still a dependent and have not left for college yet(and even so when I do leave for college) I am not free to do so. My dad has filed for custody, and seeing how this goes against what I am wanting, and he is doing such in spite, I want to know exactly how this will work. How would custody work, because mom knows what I wants, and is happy to let it be that way, but dad is forcing things to be tough, and I will also be leaving for college in August, which would make custody seem silly for me, because I won’t be home albeit for a couple of weekends a month. I would love some insight, and thank you.
      Dear Morgan: The issue of custody differs from state-to-state. Since you are 18, most likely in your state, you’re a legal adult. There may be something in your state’s law, however, that bears on that status if you’re still living at home and depend on your parents for your college education. Try Googling the name of your state and “child custody” or “emancipation” for specific information on these subjects. If possible, calmly discuss this with your parents – maybe an agreement can be reached. You can also speak with a local family lawyer about this. Many don’t charge for an initial consultation. You may get your questions answered in a brief 30 minute meeting with a lawyer. Ask about this if you contact one. Good luck and make the most of your college years. Remember to play hard and study harder.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cheyenne
      Mon, 01 Aug 2011 at 10:27

      I’m currently 15 and my brother is 11. We have been living with my father since shortly after my parents divorced (since i was in 4th grade).
      At first, I liked living with my dad, everything seemed better, because of my mother’s situation (she put her boyfriend before my brother and I). A lot has changed, though. I would like to live with my nana, instead of my mom or dad. My dad claims that living with him is what’s best for us. I have never been happy living with him, neither has my brother, but he says it isn’t about happiness or what we want. Do I have a say in who we live with? Could we live with my nana?
      I forgot to mention on my last post the reason why were are unhappy. My dad has become something of an alcoholic. He lets his girlfriend control nearly everything. Her mother babysat my brother, my half brother, my dad’s girlfriend’s son, and I this summer. She smokes pot in their room, and threatened to spank my brother with a belt. She doesn’t have permission to do so. My brother is treated very different at my dad’s house; everything he says or does, my dad’s girlfriend always has something negative to say about it.
      Dear Cheyenne: The laws in most states require that you live with your parents or, in your case, one of your parents until you reach 18. If you’re being abused or neglected and the state becomes involved, you could be removed from your home and placed with another family member or in foster care. It might be best to sit down with your Dad and calmly explain your feelings and why you’d like to live with your Nana. Mant teens find themselves in similar situations and have to grin & bear it until they’re old enough to be independent. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Melvin
      Tue, 09 Aug 2011 at 07:50

      Hello! My parents have joint custody of me. I chose to live with my mom in missouri, then she decided to up- and move to oklahoma. I am 17, my dad lives in Arizona, am I allowed to move in with him without court?
      Dear Melvin: You have to look to the court orders already in place regarding the joint custody. If your parents agree to a move to your Dad’s home, going back to court may not be necessary. However, if they don’t agree with the change, the court may have to step in and decide where you’ll live. Discuss this with both parents and hopefully you can reach an agreement without further litigation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jessy
      Tue, 09 Aug 2011 at 04:43

      Well anyways I’m 17 but will be 18 at January. My parents might be divorcing. Who will take custody of me?? I want my mom and my dad. Is it possible the court will let me stay with one parent forever?? I would prefer weekdays with my mother and weekends with my dad…

      What abbot my brother who is 10, and sister who is 12??
      Dear Jessy: We’re sorry to hear of your parents’ divorce. If you and your parents can’t reach an agreement about your living arrangements, the court will decide. Since you’ll be an adult soon, you may not be in court before you turn 18. Then it’s your decision to make and best made in consultation with your parents. There’s nothing magical about becoming an adult – true, it’s great that you’re an adult but with freedom comes a lot of responsibility. You may not be quite ready to assume all of the responsibilities that go with independence. As far as your younger siblings, the court will decide the custody and visitation issues if your parents can’t agree. The court looks to what is in their best interests. Good luck to all of you.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • clifton murray
      Fri, 19 Aug 2011 at 03:48

      hi im 13 turn 14 in 2 weeks and i want to live with my dad but mom has custity and wont let me live with him how can i get to live with my dad in the next year
      Dear Clifton: The best way to possibly change homes from your mom to your dad is to discuss it calmly with both parents. If there is a court order placing you with one parent and visits with the other, the judge made the decision based on the facts of the case and what’s in your best interests. Good luck and be patient – things will improve.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alin Anderson
      Sun, 21 Aug 2011 at 08:14

      Ok, im turning 16 on 8/24, my parents are getting a divorce. i would rather stay with my dad than my mom. Do I have any say on who i want to live with? I have spent some time recherching this i have not found any answers on if i can or can not. I have read some of the questions asked earlier and you said it depends on what state you live in, i live in Michigan and I,m wondering if i can live with my dad than my mom?
      Dear Alin: We’re sorry to hear about your parents’ divorce. At your age you are allowed to express your preference in living with one parent or the other. Take a look at this web site for some information from the Michigan courts about custody and visitation: http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/resources/publications/manuals/focb/custodyguideline.pdf
      If your parents don’t reach an agreement about your living situation, the judge will decide and take into consideration your position. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • nicholas
      Sat, 03 Sep 2011 at 05:00

      if i live with my dad but i want to go live with my mom how old do i have to be to tell the judge
      Dear Nicholas: A judge may want to hear from any age teen when it comes to making a custody determination, but the older you are (approximately 15-17), the more likely the judge will consider your thoughts and feelings. However, there has to be a court hearing in order for the judge to hear from you, so if your parents’ custody arrangements have already been determined by the court, there may not be an opportunity to be heard by the judge. Perhaps you could try sitting down with your parents (either together or separately) and let them know how you are feeling. They may not realize that you are unhappy with the current custody arrangements and may be willing to let you live with your mom like you want. If they agree to this, there shouldn’t be any problem although they may need to go back to court to get any custody orders modified. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Alyssa
      Fri, 09 Sep 2011 at 04:44

      Hi my name is Alyssa and Im 14 years old. I live with my mom and her soon to be husband. I love living her and dont want to move but the man my mom is marring is black and my dad is very racist. He gives me and my mom a hard time. For the last 6 years everytime I go down to his house i have to hear him down grade my mom and call her names.I have also got a boyfriend now he is a mixed boy. I know at my age this boy will not be my boyfreind long but now my dad is really having a fit.He now calls me a disgrace and a N—– lover. He makes me cometo see him just so he can ground me and cuss me like a dog.. Its so miserable now that i dont know what to do. Can i just stop going? My mom said she could go to jail if i did is that true? My mom and dad have tried to talk but my dad isnt easy to talk to anymore since the black thing.What can I do.. I do love my dad but I am so unhappy… Oh yea we live in Tennessee..
      Thanks ,Alyssa
      Dear Alyssa: We’re sorry to hear about your circumstances and how your dad is treating you. Find out from your mom exactly what the custody orders are through the court, which should specify as to how often you’re required to visit your dad, etc. It is possible that if you stop seeing your dad, your mom could be facing some sort of “custodial interference” charge depending on the laws in your state, but usually this charge involves one parent keeping their child from seeing the other parent. Perhaps you could try sitting down with your dad and calmly telling him how you feel and that you are uncomfortable visiting him. If he agrees to you not visiting him anymore, then there shouldn’t be any problem, but your mom may need to go back to court to get the custody orders modified. If you feel that you cannot speak to him about this, consider writing him a letter, which would allow you to fully express yourself without being interrupted or losing your train of thought. Take care and best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Grace
      Tue, 27 Sep 2011 at 02:12

      Okay I’m 13 and live with my mom and she has this boyfriend and I hate him and he hates me even more. I want to live with my dad but I’m scared, I was wondering if it was possible to live with someone else like someone from my church. Or even try living with my dad just for a summer to see what it is like, because he refuses to get full custody because he thinks that I will want to go straight home to my mom. And my mom just says flat out no, and refuses to give me a reason. I can’t stand this boyfriend and when ever he is around I cry myself to sleep and I can’t help but want to go to court. My therapist agrees with me on most;y everything I say, like I think my mom stop trying to find a quality boyfriend because they met at a high school reunion. And then I also think that he stop trying to be nice after he started to get some!
      Dear Grace: Sorry to hear about your situation at home. Since you have a therapist that you’ve confided in, maybe she can meet with your mom to discuss your living arrangements. If your mom knew how you felt about her boyfriend, she may consider her options including talking to him or ending the relationship. You could also discuss this with both parents to see what they can do to help you out. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal or medical/mental health advice).

    • Grace
      Wed, 28 Sep 2011 at 06:00

      Well what if I already told my mom how I felt and told I can’t live with this man, and she still hasn’t done anything about it.
      Dear Grace: Then you’ll have to be patient and make the best of it. That’s not what you want to hear, but unless you’re in danger of being physically or sexually abused, you’re required under the law to listen to your parents. Consider talking with a counselor at school or through your church for support. Just getting issues off your chest is helpful in stressful situations. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alex Nazario
      Mon, 10 Oct 2011 at 03:51

      Hi my name is Alex I’m 15 and I’m here because my sister who is 9 wants to live with my father. My sister and I have lived in Florida for 2 years and we moved prior to the divorce. We lived in Washington State beforehand. About a month ago I convinced my mother if I could move in with my dad. I cannot stand my mothers parenting ethics and me and my sister were plainly not happy. My mom has literally moved 1000 miles away from our father… and my dad said he regrets his decisions on letting her leave state… I am trying to convince my mother to let my sister live with my dad. I talk to my sister once a week I have a busy school schedule and activities after school so the only way I can reach her is on the weekends. Every weekend I ask her how she is doing. She seems depressed and lonely and she says she wants to live with my dad and me but my mother won’t budge. I have been trying to stay out of legal battles. My dad is trying his best to convince my mom aswell but its not working what should I do?!! I feel like I can’t do anything. I feel worthless and depressed. I love my sister and I don’t want to be separated from her. I want the best for my sister and only the best. Please help me with any legal advice you have. This is my last resort. I try to have hope, but its leaking away… Please answer this quickly
      Dear Alex: We’re very sorry to hear about you and your sister’s situation. It sounds as though you’ve done what you can to get your sister to live with your father as well. Perhaps you and your dad could look into whether your mom would agree to going through mediation to resolve the matter. The only difficult thing with mediation is that it often requires that all of the parties be present, so either your dad would have to fly to Florida or your mom would have to fly to Washington. However, your dad could try calling the court that handled the divorce and ask about the mediation process and services. Otherwise, if some sort of compromise could be reached between your dad and mom like allowing your sister to visit you during school holidays and summer breaks, then your sister may be happier in knowing that she gets to live with you part of the year. Finally, we understand this must be hard and stressful on you, so maybe you could try talking to a counselor at school so you can share your thoughts and get some feedback from a neutral party. Please hang in there and good luck to you and your family.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mark Dabrowski
      Tue, 18 Oct 2011 at 11:23

      I am 14 years old, I will turn 15 in a week. My parents have separated almost 10 years ago. I have since lived with my mother and my sister & brother. I am happy. I havent seen or heard from my father in ovedr six years and before that I didnt see him much. My father had supervised visitations with me but never came to see me, he has paid child support because he has had no choice it was court ordered and it comes out of his pay. all of a sudden out of the blue, he wants to see me and he is taking my mom to court for visitation of me. I dont want to see him. He was violent with my mom and he has not made any effort to see me in years. I live in the same town as him and have seen him drive around and one day even saw him in the convenience store, he ignored me. I dont want to see him, I dont know if I have any rights, cant I do something to stop him from seeing me, and he wants me to sleep over, I dont even know him, he is a stranger, what can I do???
      Dear Mark: Because of your age, you may have a chance to explain your thoughts about this to a judge. Since, as you said, your parents are going to court over the visitation issue, your state laws may allow you to appear and speak with the judge. You may also be appointed either a lawyer to represent you or a guardian who will speak for you in court. Either way, make sure you tell them just how you feel and why. The judge will decide based on what’s in your best interests, so he or she needs to know your position. You could also write a letter to the judge expressing your thoughts. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Marsha
      Mon, 24 Oct 2011 at 08:22

      What age does a child have to be, to be allowed to be heard from a judge on what he or she would prefer?
      Dear Marsha: The answer to your question depends on a number of things. First, the state where the child is or the state where the judge is hearing the case. Second, the laws of the state that has jurisdiction over the case. Every state has its own laws about custody and visitation if that’s what you’re referring to. Some states allow teenagers an opportunity to speak with the judge, others don’t. Usually, teenagers are given a chance to express their preferences either in person at court or by letter. Some courts appoint the teenager a guardian ad litem (just for the case) to speak for the teen in court. We suggest you Google the name of the state and “child witness” for information. You can also call your local court and ask or see if your local public library has a pamphlet about family court proceedings. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Catherine Reese
      Thu, 27 Oct 2011 at 02:09

      My boyfriend has a now 14 year old daughter in her first year of high school. He and I have been living together for over 6 years and her mom is remarried. She is in a 50/50 even split between dad and mom’s house. She recently decided she only wants to live at moms for awhile because she says she is happier there. We are overprotective of her and give her rules to follow and want to raise her to be a responsible adult. We feel that she wants to live at moms because of the exact opposite. Is my boyfriend able to say no to her wanting to only live at moms? We don’t feel it is in her best interest.
      Dear Catherine: Custody and visitation orders issued by a court are expected to be followed. They can be modified by the court or, if the parents agree to different living arrangements that don’t place her in any danger, a change can be made. We suggest your boyfriend speak with a lawyer who practices family law about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Megan
      Sat, 29 Oct 2011 at 11:16

      I am 14 and i live in Indiana, my parents have been fighting for custody of me for about 3 to 4 years. my dad always seems to win and thats who i live with, but i want to live with my mom. my dad doesnt agree and dont eve want me to see her. my dad married a mail order bride and me and her doesnt get a long at all and neither does me and my dad. my step mom calls me names and alot more, but my dad wont do anything about it. i hardly ever get to do anything. my dad and my step mom always leaves to go some where such as LA or fishig trips and never asks me to go, i have to stay at home. he screams and yells at me when i try and talk to him about going to a friends house to get my dogs med. just about anything. he buys my step mom what ever she wants but when i ask him for $10 or somthing to get shampoo or somthing that i have to have he gets mad. so for the past summer i have had to babysit and just make my own money to buy my school clothes and to get the stuff for me and my animals that i have to have. i really nee some help where i can go live with my mom. i hate where i live now..
      Dear Megan: We’re sorry to hear about your situation at home. We suggest you speak with an adult relative about this or your Mom. Someone you trust that may be able to discuss this with your Dad. As you get older and closer to adulthood at 18, your opinion should be taken into consideration. Hopefully, through a calm discussion with your parents, they can reach an agreement that satisfies everyone involved. A school counselor may also be helpful. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Selena Garcia
      Tue, 01 Nov 2011 at 01:14

      i live in san angelo texas and my mom want to move to san antonio texas, i told her i did not want to move and that i wanted to stay in san angelo and live with my dad. She told me she wasnt gonna let me, and that my dad would have to get a lawyer and fight for custoday.
      Can my mom keep me from going to live with my dad? will my dad have to fight for custody?
      Dear Selena: The answer to your question depends on a few things. First, if a court has already decided on custody and visitation, you’re required as well as your parents to follow the judge’s order. It can be changed but this requires your parents to go back to court. If your parents are not divorced or legally separated, they can agree to where you live and with which parent. In most cases, both parents have equal rights unless a court has limited one parent or the other. It’s always best to work things out without going to court. Try sitting down with your Mom and Dad, explain to them calmly how you feel about this move and why, and see if an arrangment can be reached that is satisfactory to everyone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • LSY
      Sun, 06 Nov 2011 at 12:48

      im 15 yrs old now, 16 next yr.
      if my parents divorced, i want to live with my mother. what can i do to help my mother get my custody. theres many bad things about my father. will this make him an unfit father? example, he watch pornographic at home even if i may notice it, he is also violent to my mother, if my mother say something that make him angry, he may beat her, though not everytime, but he did beat her before. he even smokes at home, it doesnt benefit me but harm me, a few weeks ago i cough very seriously i thought i get lung cancer, but didnt if i continue living with him im sure to get lung cancer. even though my cough serious, he still continues to smoke. my mother has a history of getting depression will this affect her from getting my custody? nobody knows if my father may be violent to me in the future, im scared. the judge wont listen to my words, is it? im not scared to say those out, if it is at the court. theres many people, my father wont dare to be violent. but will the judge even believe my words? though i dun have any evidence but theress history in the computer that he watch porn. im sure theres record in the police station that my mother report that my father beat her. will it help my mother?
      Dear LSY: If your parents do not agree on custody arrangements, then it will be up to the judge who will take into consideration the circumstances you have mentioned as long as they are brought to the judge’s attention. Because you are 15 going on 16, the judge is likely to want to hear from you about who you would prefer to live with and you can either testify openly in the courtroom or ask to speak with the judge privately. Ultimately, the judge would have to decide what is in your best interests when it comes to making a custody determination. Remember that if your parents come to an agreement on their own, then the custody issue would not have to be decided by a judge. Take care.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • clayton
      Sun, 06 Nov 2011 at 10:59

      if i am 13 and my parents get a divorce can i decide if i live with my dad or mom cuz i wanna live with my dad not my mom
      Dear Clayton: A judge may want to hear from any age teen when it comes to making a custody determination, but the older you are (approximately 15-17), the more likely the judge will consider your thoughts and feelings. However, there has to be a court hearing in order for the judge to hear from you, so if your parents’ custody arrangements have already been determined by the court or if your parents have reached an agreement about custody, there may not be an opportunity to be heard by the judge. Perhaps you could try sitting down with your parents (either together or separately) and let them know how you are feeling. They may not know how you feel and be willing to reach an agreement that pleases everyone. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Faith Bedford
      Mon, 07 Nov 2011 at 02:33

      Hi i’m 13, I will be 14 next year. I’ve been living with my mom, but i have to decided to live with my dad,he is on diability so if something happens i want to be able to help and be there for him. I don’t know if my mom wants me to, But do i have a say in what i do in this situation? Is there a curtain age i have to be?
      Dear Faith: States have laws about the opinions of minors and how much say they have in custody/visitation issues. As a minor, it is not your decision where you live. That’s up to your parents and sometimes the judge if a case goes to court. We suggest you speak calmly with your parents about how you feel, what you’d like to do and why. You may be able to reach an agreement that satisfies everyone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Linda
      Mon, 07 Nov 2011 at 07:18

      Hi i’m 13 i will be 14 next year. I live in kentucky and my dad lives in indiana my mom and dad have been divorced since was like 5 and i live with my mom right now i would like to live with my dad but my mom doesnt want me to. Is it her decision? Do you think i will have a chance of my dad getting custody of me?
      Dear Linda: As a minor you are required to listen to your parents including which parent you are to live with. As you get older and closer to turning 18, you’ll have more say regarding custody and visitation. We suggest that you speak with both parents, explain how you feel and why. A calm discussion often leads to a new arrangement acceptable to everyone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • taylor
      Tue, 08 Nov 2011 at 08:03

      Hi my name is taylor and I’m now 17, my parents have been divorced for 12 yrs now and custody is 50/50 I’m tired of living with my mom because her husband is crazy, I was wondering if I can legally just live with my dad full time withoutgoing into court?
      Dear Taylor: Under most custody & visitation laws across the country, if parents agree on a new living arrangement for their son or daughter, it’s not a problem. It’s not required that the court become involved when a 50/50 split goes to 60/40 or any other share of time. As long as everyone involved agrees and it’s in your best interest. Otherwise, if your Mom opposes a change, legally she can block it until the court considers your position and rules on a modification. Getting before a judge may take longer than you have since you’re approaching 18. Hopefully you and your parents can work this out. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Chelsea
      Sat, 12 Nov 2011 at 11:22

      I am 14 years old. I live equally with both parents. 2 weeks at each house back n forth.
      The problem is, me n my mom argue to the death about everything. I know all teenagers fight with their moms but at times I literally would kill her if I got the chance. I know that’s horrible. But I really would. :/
      I feel bad for my dad. Cause he tries to stop our arguments but it never works.
      My mom has a 60 something year old boyfriend. Which also makes it awkward cause my moms 44. So is my dad, btw. My dad hasn’t dated at all which worries me. It was a mutual decision to get divorced. But whenever I talk about my moms bf, it gets all awkward.
      Me n my dad r really close. I wanna live their. But I do have occasional good times with my mom. I still wanna see her, so I’m wanting to do either 3 weeks at dads then 1 week at moms(best option) or 2 weeks at dads n 1 week at moms. I would also b totally fine with only some weekends at my moms. But she would never go for that.
      I wanna discuss this with my mom but I know shell get really upset because she already knows I wanna b at my dads house as it is. So she’s very sensitive about that stuff :/
      My dad knows I wanna do this n doesn’t necessarily support it but would b ok with it.
      I know I’m old enough to decide. But I hear u have to talk to a lawyer n I wanna do that before talking to my mom cause if I tell her first she will never let me talk to one.
      I have wanted to move out since they first got divorced, but I wasn’t old enough then. N it wasn’t as bad then. But I cannot spend much longer coming to her house this often. I NEED to do something. But I don’t know how.
      PLEASE HELP!!!
      Thanks,
      Chelsea
      Dear Chelsea: We’re sorry to hear about your struggles with your mom. Unfortunately, until you are an adult (18 in most states), your parents are legally responsible for you to make decisions that they believe are in your best interests. Therefore, your parents and/or the court get to decide custody arrangements for you. We suggest you try sitting down with your mom and having a heart to heart conversation about how you feel. Stay calm, but let her know how the constant fighting upsets you. She may be willing to consider alternative custody arrangements for a period where you spend more time at your dad’s. If there is a court order concerning custody, then your parents would have to go back to court to get the custody orders modified, but if they both agree on new arrangements, it shouldn’t be a problem. Many teens are going through the same thing right now, so you are not alone. You could also call the Girls and Boy Town National Hotline to speak to a counselor about your concerns. The number is 1-800-448-3000. Take care of yourself and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • jane smith
      Fri, 18 Nov 2011 at 01:46

      my parents got divorced when i was i think 6 or 7 and my mom got remarried when i was 9 and we moved to london an when i turned 10 he was no cool because every time my mom talked about my dad of how bad he is my step dad said he’s crazy and that just made me angry i had to say something and i did i cursed 17 times to him and everything was silence then i started to cry and went to my room and when my mom came to my room she told me that was not lady like and i yelled at her about talking about my dad and she understand and went out of my room now that i living in chicago with my mom and real bro she will never let me see my dad on weekends now and my dad is remarried and my mom do not like her and now she wants to know where he lives and stuff and she don’t want him knowing her stuff and letting us not see him now i’m bursting in tears because i listen to daddy’s little girl by frankie j and my dad is in the milatary and what if he go shot and i couldn’t see him because of my mom and step father and now i just want to die so i wont feel pain and ill leave a note for my mom to read so she can feel what i felt because last time she told my dad over the phone that he can see us anytime and this a time he does but she’s not letting us or him :( i want to die for real i understand about peoples dad but mine i understand alot but i don’t think i can keep up and my birthday is december 24 i’m 11 turning 12 :(
      Dear Jane: Talking with an adult that you trust will help you get through this. Speak with a parent of a friend, another relative or your teacher or counselor at school. Keeping this all inside is not doing you any good. There may be a way you can discuss this calmly with your Mom and try to reach an agreement about seeing your Dad. Maybe you can Skype with your Dad? As you get older and closer to 18, which we know sounds like forever to you, your opinions will be considered. It’s important for you to talk with someone and express your feelings.
      Jane, have you heard about the “It Gets Better” project on YouTube? Although it started as a site for LGBT (gay and lesbian) youth, the message they put out to tweens and teens is that your life will get better. You have to be patient and once you’re in high school you’ll be glad you didn’t do anything crazy when you were eleven. Take a look at the site here: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/ Listen to some of the messages from kids your age and other teens. You can also call them any time of day or night to speak with someone – someone trained to help you without knowing your name or anything else about you. Call 1-800-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. One more thing, Jane. Ending your pain by taking your life creates pain for everyone who loves you including your Dad. That pain will last forever. Your dad wants to be at your graduations, walk you down the aisle when you meet a great guy, and be a grandfather to your kids. Please think about this.
      Stay in touch with us. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Camron
      Mon, 19 Dec 2011 at 05:25

      I’m 16 years old, my parents have been divorced for 10 years and my mom decided to be an idiot and try to amend the living arrangements with my 11 year old sister, this didn’t bother me at first because I don’t talk to my mom I live with my dad. Now when the judge found out I don’t talk to my mom he decided to make me go to counselling with my mom, I don’t agree with this, no matter what happens I do not want to live with her. I hate seeing her as it is. What should I do? Will they listen to me? Does the fact the I’m going to be a father in 2 months change anything?
      Dear Camron: Since you’re still a minor, you’re required to listen to your parents as well as any court orders that are entered by the judge. Make the best of the counseling – explain calmly exactly how you feel about the situation and why. If the court hasd appointed a lawyer or guardian for you, talk with that person and let them know how you feel. You becoming a father doesn’t necessarily change any court orders that exist or emancipate you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sam
      Tue, 20 Dec 2011 at 02:24

      Hello, I’m 13 years old and my parents have just gotten legally separated, but aren’t entirely divorced yet. I live with my Dad right now and he has temporary custody, trying to get full custody, which is what me and my sister wanted, but my Mom is kicking up dirt on my dad, telling the courts that he was physically abusive to her and that he’s turning my 16 year old sister and I against her. My sister was taken away to foster care a year before, when she didn’t need it, (long story) so Child “Protective” Services is keeping an eye on us, and all three of us are worried that my sister and I may get taken away by CPS due to all the dirt my mom has kicked up on my dad.
      Is it possible she could get us taken away and put in foster care? She’s adopted a sort of “If I can’t have them, nobody can” attitude.
      Thanks in advance, sorry If I strayed off topic a little, but I felt it was all valid information.
      Dear Sam: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. CPS has the responsibility to investigate claims of child abuse and neglect. In other words, if your mother makes a complaint, they will begin an investigation to look further into your situation before anyone is removed from the home. However, since they may start investigating your home life with your dad based on your mother’s claims, you, your sister and your father may want to document any of her dishonest allegations, etc. and if possible proof that all of your needs are being met by living with your father so that you can turn any of this “evidence” over to CPS if necessary. Take care and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Justin Landes
      Wed, 21 Dec 2011 at 04:29

      Hi judge Tom my dad has just won custody rights over me im 15 and now he has taken my phone, computer and life away. He keeps threatening me that he will never let me see my family up north ever again. I never felt about comiting suicide in my whole life until now. I want to live with my grandfather who has taken care of me my whole life. I made a stupid desicion in moving down to florida with him and i want to go home please email me back! Thank you!
      jlandes1234@aol.com
      Dear Justin: Ending your life is not the answer to your problems. As bad as you think life is right now, you have to believe that it will get better. It won’t be long (although it seems that way to you) before you turn 18 and you’ll be able to make decisions for yourself. In the meantime, talk with your Dad calmly about your concerns and why you feel the way you do. Also reach out to another adult you trust and discuss the situation with him or her. It’s always better to get things off your chest and not keep everything to yourself. Try a parent of a friend or a counselor at school. There are great professionals at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline who are ready 24/7 to talk with you. It’s confidential and very helpful to many who make the call: 1-800-273-8255. All the best, Justin.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sam
      Thu, 22 Dec 2011 at 05:13

      Hi, my name is Sam and I recently turned 14 years old. My dad recently moved back in after a big fight between him and my mom (they weren’t divorced, just seperated). I overheard them talking about “moving on” after Christmas, and I’m pretty that means that they’re getting a divorce. I’m pretty sure that after the divorce my mom will move to South Dakota to be closer to her family, and she’ll want to take me and my little sister (11) with her. I caught my mom cheating on my dad, (I have evidence), and I really don’t want to move with her or live with her. I live in Minnesota. Would I have any say in where I go?
      Dear Sam: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. If your parents file for divorce, you may get a chance to speak with the judge. Every state has its own laws regarding custody and visitation of minors. If you don’t get a chance to speak directly with the judge, you can always write a letter expressing your thoughts about your future. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Poppy
      Fri, 23 Dec 2011 at 06:19

      My friend is 14 -15 in january- and he lives with his mum, he goes to see his dad every fortnight but he doesn’t want to, his mum makes him go. He’s tried sitting down and telling her that he doesn’t like going back and forth, or seeing him at all for that matter but she said he has to go. I told him that I thought its his choice whether he goes to see him or not but is that right?? He thinks that he has to go and see him until he’s 16 and then he gets a choice. Which is right??
      Dear Poppy: If his parents are divorced or legally separated, there may be court orders that exist regarding custody and visitation. If that’s the case, the judge’s orders must be followed.It may be true where you live that the law sets forth the age of 16 where a person has more say in their contact with parents. Google the name of your region and “age of majority” or “visitation laws” for information about this. Good luck to your friend.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ivey
      Mon, 26 Dec 2011 at 04:53

      I’m 13 and my parents never divorced because they never got married so they’re just separated . I live in Northern California with my Dad and my Mom lives in Southern California . I’m from Southern California and I want to move back to my Mom’s full time because that’s where all my friends are but I’m really scared to talk to my dad about it because I kind of already have but he won’t hear it and interrupts me every time I try to explain my reasoning . My Mom told me when I’m 12 I can choose who I want to live with ; is that true ? In the state of California . I wouldn’t want to get a lawyer or any of that stuff , is there a way to just make it easy and fast or something ? Also if my Dad takes away belongings that my mother got me can he do that ?
      Dear Ivey: It’s up to your parents to make decisions about where you live and with whom. As you get older and closer to 18, your opinion may be taken into consideration by your parents. Even now, you can calmly explain to them how you feel and what you’d like to see happen about your living situation, but it’s their decision to make. You may have to make the best of it until you’re older. At 12, the court may listen to your side, but the judge isn’t required to follow your wishes. If custody and visitation end up in court, the judge decides the issues based on what’s in your best interests. The same with your possessions. If one parent gave you something that the other doesn’t want you to have (cell phone, etc.) it can be taken away from you while with that parent. These are things the three of you need to discuss. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ellie Buxton
      Wed, 28 Dec 2011 at 11:10

      Hi,Im ellie.I live in england and my parents will possibly soon get a divorce.Before anything happens I whant to be sure of the law.Im soon to be 16 and I want to live specificly with one parent, at 16 do I have any choise in which parent I live with at all?
      (could i have the bluntest answer possible please)
      thakyou :)
      Dear Ellie: In the U.S., a judge may want to hear from any age teen when it comes to making a custody determination, but the older you are (approximately 15-17), the more likely the judge will consider your thoughts and feelings. However, there has to be a court hearing in order for the judge to hear from you, so if your parents agree on custody arrangements, then they may not have to fight over custody in court. Perhaps you could try sitting down with your parents (either together or separately) and let them know how you are feeling. They may be willing to let you live with the parent you want. Take care and best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Corey
      Sun, 01 Jan 2012 at 09:53

      My parents are getting devorsed im 16 and will be 17 in Sept , I love my Parents both. But My dad and I have a great realeship , oh I also have a twin brother ! we want to live with our dad and only go to our mom’s house when we want , is that possable ? I really hate litensing to them argue but id rather them stay together and my dad thinks they should but my mom wants out ! so in Alabama Can i choice who i want to live with ? being 16 going on 17 ? Please reply , im really stresing out . and dont want to go to cournt and have to live with my mom ! please HELP!
      Dear Corey: If your parents end up in court regarding custody and visitation, the judge may want to hear from you. At your age, your opinion is usually taken into consideration by the courts. The court may also appoint either a lawyer or guardian to represent your position. If that happens, be sure to explain how you feel to that person. You can always write a letter to the assigned judge as well. It may be shared with your parents and their attorneys. Every state has laws covering these issues. For example, take a look at Findlaw’s information on Alabama’s process here. We hope this works out for you and your brother. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Eleni
      Mon, 02 Jan 2012 at 10:55

      What happens in a situation where the wife flees the state without permission and misses the divorce hearing? Are her parental rights terminated? Does she have to hire a lawyer to get to see the child again?
      Dear Eleni: AsktheJudge.info is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      If you are a teen, we suggest you speak with a lawyer who practices family or domestic relations law. Every state has laws about these subjects (leaving the state, violating court orders, termination of parental rights and contact/visitation with a child). You can contact your local court and ask if they have what’s called a “Family Legal Assistance Program.” Many courts offer this service to the public where lawyers who practice family law provide, free of charge, a consultation for 30 minutes or so. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Athena
      Sun, 08 Jan 2012 at 05:49

      I want to live with my mom! I don’t want to visit my dad. I’m 12 and turning 13 in Feb. I have a brother who has no problem with the joined custody but I do. Because I have to be the grown up, I have to be the one to make things right, I have to take care of my broth! He is 2 years older than me and is turning 15 in March. My grandma recently pasted away, so my mom had to go out of the state to go to her funeral. So then I have to stay with my dad, but do you know that I haven’t seen him my whole vacation! He just sends me to my aunts. He doesn’t even call! I have to call. About when I was 9, I was playing my brothers video game and I lost against my cousin, so my brother got mad and pulled my ear. I started to cry, then my aunt told me to stop crying. After I stop crying I hyproventalate so she thought that I was still crying. My aunts told my cousin and my brother to get to bed. Then she dragged me to the bedroom where I was still crying. This aunt is my dad’s sister. In the bedroom she grabbed all my hair and swung me around the room 3 times. And left me in the room to cry. Then I confronted my dad and said that I didn’t want to live with her any more so I stayed with a different aunt. I was happy. I loved it there, even though there was no Internet. But then about a year and a half she took me bac there and my aunt told me that she hurt me because she had a “head ache”. Now I’m bac here with no happiness. My brother was with me the whole way but was like watever. I relized that if I’m with my mom I’m happy. And safe. Is there any way me and my brother can be with my mother. And still have child support or the funding to support?
      Dear Athena: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. Perhaps you could try sitting down with your parents either together or separately and tell them how you feel about the situation. If your parents are willing to let you and your brother live full-time with your mom, then there shouldn’t be any problem although they may need to go back to court to get any custody orders modified if they went to court over the custody arrangements to begin with. Your parents may have no idea how you feel, so expressing yourself could make you feel better and your father realize how much having to stay with your aunt is affecting you. If you feel like you can’t talk to your parents, then consider talking to a school counselor, another relative you trust, or even your friends’ parents if you feel comfortable. Also, if you believe you are being abused or neglected, be sure to tell an adult you trust or call Child Protective Services at 1-800-422-4453. Good luck and take care.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Athena
      Tue, 10 Jan 2012 at 06:29

      I recently posted about how i wanted to move full time with my mom. But I’m for certain that my dad will not give me up. I have a step brother whose mom has full custody. My step mom divorced my dad when she found out she was pregnant. Well, what I mean to say is there any way I can stay with my mom with out fighting my dad? I know he loves me but if he really did he would talk to me every day like my mom does. My mom is so nice and my dad just kinda shoves me aside. Their is no one I can talk to about this. Will I get to be with my mom if she gets married? I live in California and I don’t know what is the legal age to decide to choose a parent. I’m 12. I thank you for your last advise but that’s not the way to solve things. If I did tell, everyone will end up hating me.
      Dear Athena: There is no set age when a child has the absolute right to decide which parent he or she lives with. If parents can’t agree about visitation and custody and the court gets involved, the judge decides the issue based on what is in your best interests. Some judges will speak with the child or teenager and while their position is discussed, it’s not a guarantee that the judge will approve the teen’s wishes. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Amanda
      Thu, 12 Jan 2012 at 08:33

      I am 13 I turn 14 in May. I live in Ohio. My parents divorced around four years ago. My dad makes me feel scared, and in my best interest i would live with only my mom. Court was settled I would stay two days a week with my father. I am ready to only see him on my terms. Even though the two days are allowed, my mother allows him to visit me to study Chinese during her time. During those times he has physically hurt me. My mother says I provoked it. I believe, he should’t do it at all. My father has a past of physical abuse not only to me but to my mother and sister.
      Dear Amanda: If you are being physically or sexually abused, either the police or Child Protective Services should be notified if a responsible adult in your life is unable to protect you. Discuss this with someone you trust such as an adult relative, parent of a friend or a teacher or counselor at school. Call ChildHelp at 1-800-422-4453 or 911 for immediate help. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alli
      Mon, 16 Jan 2012 at 05:50

      Dear Judge Tom,
      I am 16 years old, turning 17 in April. I haven’t wanted to live with my dad since before my parents divorce was finalized last May. My dad told me that once the divorce was finalized, he and my mom, and their lawyers, would be willing to work my preference into their parenting plan, so I didn’t make a huge fuss. But when my parents divorce was finalized, their parenting plan was finalized, too. The current situation is 50-50 custody, alternating every Sunday evening. Yesterday afternoon, as I was preparing to return to my mom’s house, my dad asked me to get emancipated. He’s not mean enough to just kick me out, but he won’t give my mom the satisfaction of letting me live with her; he wants it to be legal, in writing, and he wants it to be my fault. Just minutes after he asked me to look into getting emancipated, he told me that it would hurt his feelings if I ever even considered it. Since the only way to get out of his house, and out of this cycle of manipulation and psychological abuse, appears to be getting emancipated, I’ve been looking into it. I live in Missouri, and everything I’ve read about this has been very confusing. I want to terminate my dad’s parental rights, but not my mom’s. I don’t have a job, and even though I’m almost 17, I’m not ready, nor do I want, to live on my own. I want to live with my mom, and I want her to continue to have parental rights. To be quite honest, my dad scares me. I don’t want to cut off the relationship completely, but I feel that there will be too much bitterness and hostility between us when I finally can move out, if some form of action can’t be taken very quickly. Any information you can give me about where to start or where to look for information will be much appreciated. Thank you so much for your time.
      Dear Alli: Since you’ve looked into emancipation, you probably realize how difficult it is to obtain from a court. You have to show the judge that you are financially independent and can make adult decisions about all aspects of your life. As you stated, you don’t want to be entirely free of your parents, just away from your Dad at this time. It may be best to sit down with both of them and calmly discuss the situation. If you’d be more comfortable doing that with another adult involved, talk to one of your adult relatives or someone you trust. Possibly a school counselor may have some suggestions or a friend’s parent. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jordan
      Tue, 17 Jan 2012 at 06:05

      im 11 and i stay with my dad but i go with my mom on the weekend and the summer break and holidays but i dont like my dad he hits me if i tell the judge will they let me live with my mom i love my mom so much
      Dear Jordan: You have to live where your parents decide is best for you. If the judge has ordered that you split your time with both parents, you have to follow this unless you’re in danger of being abused or severely neglected. You say your father hits you. If this is how he disciplines you when you get in trouble or break a rule, it’s not illegal unless it’s excessive and the spanking leaves visible marks, bruises, welts, etc. Parents have the right to discipline their children as long as it doesn’t amount to abuse as that is defined by the laws in your state. Child Protective Services and the police investigate cases of child abuse and sometimes remove kids from their homes to protect them. But the discipline must be serious and be criminal because of the results. As you get older, your parents may reach an agreement where you can spend more time with one parent. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Heather
      Wed, 18 Jan 2012 at 01:03

      My daughter is 13. Her dad and I have 50-50 custody. Breanne started having terrible nightmares of her father trying to kill me; waking up crying. On the week she was to go with her dad, she was in school counselor’s office every morning crying and saying she did not want to go to dad’s because of verbal abuse of dad’s new wife and her dad not backing her (Breanne) up. Her grades began to fail because of not always being in class. She met with not only counselor but Deputy assigned to school when she made the statement she would rather be dead than go back to her dad’s. Without any help or encouragement from me, she refused to go to her dads. I told her change in custody would take Court order, but on her own she absolutely refused to go, plus the Deputy said he would not force her to go because of what he heard her say which bordered on suicidal thoughts. She has been with me for over 3 months. Dad realized this is all Breanne’s idea and not mine. I do support her decision 100%. He threatens her that she should be with him every other week, but has not gone to Court because he probably realizes how deeply distressed she would be if forced to go back and how it would make him look by what she is saying.. Under these circumstances, do you think I should wait another 3 months and then go to court to get full custody? Would judge listen to Breanne on how terribly unhappy she would be going back to dad and how it would affect her emotional health? She is very happy now; bringing up her grades; no nightmares unless dad starts sending texts, e-mails saying she has to come with him the next week. I am so afraid judge will send new wife to parenting class and say everything will be ok. Breanne knows it will not be. New wife has truly been verbally cruel to her. I’m so worried.
      Dear Heather: It is difficult to predict what may happen in or out of court. We recommend you speak with a local family lawyer about this. He or she will know the policies of the judges assigned to hear these cases and can advise you how best to proceed. The bottom line in all custody and visitation cases is the best interests of the child. In your case, Breanne’s welfare is paramount. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jonathan
      Wed, 18 Jan 2012 at 08:48

      I am 17 turning 18 in June and living in Wisconsin. I have a sister that’s 16 and an autistic brother that’s 12. My mom wants to divorce my dad for a guy that’s 19, lives with us, and goes to my high school. My dad is a stay at home dad and mom is the income maker. She plans on moving out with her boyfriend and is afraid of supporting two households because we are a low income family. Would my siblings and I be awarded to my dad because of this unethical relationship and how would child support and maintenance be determined since we are low income? Will my sister and I get a say in where we are placed and be able to speak on behalf of my autistic brother?
      Dear Jonathan: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. All states have laws regarding custody and visitation of minors when a divorce or separation occurs. The bottom line for every court is what is in the best interests of the children and teenagers in the family. At your age, you and your sister will likely have a say about this before the judge makes a decision. That’s not to say, you’ll get everything you ask for, but the judge will consider your position. Income is always a consideration when it comes to determining child support and spousal maintenance for your mother or father. These are legal matters that either your parents and/or their lawyers will take up with the court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anonymous11 :)
      Fri, 20 Jan 2012 at 06:01

      Well where to begin, I’m old enough to live with my other parent, but my parent that I’m living with refuses to let me go. I feel like I’m getting all my rights taking away since my father got a new girlfriend and he doesn’t listen to my opinions anymore. He asked for mine because he was tired of me ignoring him and telling him that I do not like cuddling with his girlfriend and treating me different, he always said to me since I was little that I could not live with my mom, and if I tried he would fight for me. Well lately we have been having disagreements and now my friend does not want to comeover anymore and since she can’t , he made it a point I can’t go over there either and pretty much can’t go anywhere. Well I’m old enough and was wondering if I did find away to move there if their would be anyway I could bring my thing like besides clothes and the things I need, could I bring some Of my furniture that I got as a Christmas gift? I’m not sure if I would be able too
      Dear Anonymous11: We’re assuming you are talking about bringing your stuff to your Mom’s if you end up living with her. If your Dad bought the furniture for you and your bedroom at his house, then it would be up to him to let you take it with you. Perhaps you could try calmly talking with your Dad and Mom about how you feel and why you would like to live with your Mom. Maybe if your Dad realizes how unhappy you are with the current arrangements, he might be willing to compromise and let you live with your Mom for awhile or at least on a part-time basis. Take care and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Anonymous11 :)
      Fri, 20 Jan 2012 at 06:03

      I mean him cuddling with girlfriend

    • BreeAnna Martin
      Sat, 21 Jan 2012 at 05:09

      Hi I’m a 14 year old and I just got into touch with my father. He left 13 years ago after my mom cheated on him… Now I really want to go live with him…. She is never able to talk to me cuz she is always working or studying. HELP!!! How can I go live with him if she is SO against it..
      Dear BreeAnna: Your father may have to approach the subject with your Mom. Hopefully, they can work out an arrangement that’s satisfactory to all of you. As you get older, your position regarding custody and visitation carries more weight if this ends up in court. In the meantime, make the best of the present situation and try to find a good time to speak with your mother. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lynn
      Sun, 22 Jan 2012 at 09:55

      hi my name is lynn i live in wisconsin im 16 1/2 and my parents are going to court for custody of me and my brother. my parents are seperated and neither are very good houses to be living in. my dads house has alot of stress, secrects, and lying. really no where in the house is peaceful nor quite. so i sleep during school, and feel very overwhellemed. how ever my moms house is much worse for one she isnt even living in a house she lives in a hotel, she has an abusive husband and another child she can barley afford. she never has food and sells her food stamps. when we all go to court is there a way i can be emancipated? or maybe ever partially…?
      Dear Lynn: Sorry to hear about your situation. Not all states have emancipation laws. To find out the specific laws in your state, try Googling your state’s name and “emancipation laws”. The states that do have emancipation laws usually make it somewhat difficult for a minor to become emancipated. For example, the minor has to show the court that they are financially independent and able to pay all of their own bills including rent, utilities, groceries, etc. Because you are already 16, the judge will most likley want to hear from you and your thoughts and feelings concerning the custody arrangements. Be honest with the judge and let him/her know how you feel. If you feel uncomfortable doing this in front of your parents, you could ask to meet with judge privately. Take care and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • eddie
      Mon, 23 Jan 2012 at 07:48

      okay im 16 going on 17..i live with my mom in kentucky and my dad lives in virginia!! my dad sighned custody to my mom and i want to move all we do is argue can i legally live with my dad even tho she has full custody?
      Dear Eddie: If your parents agree to your move to your Dad’s home, then it’s fine. You don’t need a lawyer or a court order to do this if they agree. Otherwise, they may have to seek a modification of custody from the court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Skyler Rayne
      Tue, 24 Jan 2012 at 04:33

      If I’m 16 and pregnant and don’t want to live with either of my parents, can I legally move in with my grandma? Will me being pregnant allow me to live with any guardian I want legally? Please don’t tell me to “sit down and talk with my parents” my parents can’t even be in the same room with each other without fighting and im tired of the fighting… I just wanna live with my grandma and they won’t listen… And I don’t think I legally can unless my parents are proven unfit which neither of them are… So will the pregnancy allow me to? State of Georgia btw.
      Dear Skyler: Since you can’t speak with your parents about this, maybe your grandmother can help. If she approaches your parents with the suggestion that you live with her, maybe the four of you can reach an agreement. Otherwise, you’re stuck with living where your parents decide is best. That is their legal responsibility under the law unless you’re in danger of abuse or neglect. Being pregnant doesn’t change your rights as a minor or their obligations to provide appropriate care for you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sharon
      Tue, 24 Jan 2012 at 07:13

      Please Advise:
      My daughter is turning 18 next month. She wants to come live with me when she graduates in June. But, her grandmother says that she can’t. We Live in GA. her Dad and I are divorces now 11 years.
      Dear Sharon: A person becomes an adult at age 18 in Georgia. Unless there are court orders to the contrary, your daughter can choose to live with you or anyone she chooses at that time. There may be an exception to this, however, under the laws in your state. You can speak with a lawyer about the particulars here and get dome local legal advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Serana
      Wed, 25 Jan 2012 at 10:44

      Hi,
      I think my dad might divorce my stepmother, except they were never truly legally married to begin with, even though they’ve been together for 8 years. We live in Colorado. I’m 16, but I attend college, and I want to know if it’s possible to choose to live with my stepmother, even though she has no legal custody over me? My birthmother and father have been divorced since I was 3, and she has no custody for me.
      Dear Serana: It may be possible for you to live with your stepmother after she’s “divorced” from your Dad. Regardless of their legal status, once they go their separate ways, your status is important to the court and if they can’t agree on who you live with, the judge may have to make the decision. When a court becomes involved with custody and visitation, the decision is based on what’s in your best interests. At your age, you’ll have a chance to voice your opinion either in person to the court or in writing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Greenley
      Sat, 11 Feb 2012 at 09:55

      Hi my parents always are fighting and im scared that they are going to divorce there is 4 kids and I always want to be with them can you tell me if they are going to divorce?
      P.S. Im 8 my brother and sisters are 9,6,and 5 and please tell me!!!!!!
      Dear Greenley: We’re very sorry to hear about your situation at home. Sometimes parents fight and may be going through a difficult time, but that does not necessarily mean that they are getting a divorce. You need to talk to your parents and let them know that you are scared and how their fighting is making you feel. They may not realize that their fighting is affecting you and your brother and sisters. Being honest with them and letting them know how you feel is the best thing you can do. Take care and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Greenley
      Sat, 11 Feb 2012 at 12:48

      Ok thank you i forgot my parents dont fight all the time just alot and thank you!!!!!
      You’re welcome. We hope they stop fighting or make an effort to stop after you talk to them. Best of luck.

    • Stephanie Schultz
      Tue, 14 Feb 2012 at 10:33

      hi my name is stephanaie i am 15 going to be 16 in December.my parents are splitting up and i dont know what to do i think its my fault cause i am always a bad child but i dont even mean to be one what should i do?
      Dear Stephanie: First, you have to understand that the decisions your parents make about their marriage are not based on your behavior as their child. They are adults who have come to a point in their lives where they are no longer happy with each other. You’ll see over time that they both love you and will be there for you even if they live apart from each other. If you’re comfortable doing this, talk with them about your feelings. They need to know how their splitup is affecting you so they can help you adjust to the changes ahead for all of you. Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Talking with someone you trust like a friend or parent of a friend will help. Or speak with a relative or counselor at school. We wish you the best, Stephanie.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Stephanie Schultz
      Wed, 15 Feb 2012 at 10:27

      well thank you i guess i should atleast try well that is if they decide to listen to me i just want to thank you again for helping me i’m not that good at writing notes so sorry.
      You’re welcome, Stephanie.

    • samantha
      Wed, 15 Feb 2012 at 03:56

      My friend has to go talk with the judge. Her Dad & stepmom make her say bad things about her mom. She agrees with them because she doesn’t want to get punished. The problem is the judge ordered her mom to not smoke cigs around her and Dad & stepmom took Mom to court saying she is breaking the order by smoking around her. My friend agrees with all the lies when she is around her stepmom & dad.She wants to tell the truth to the judge so she can still live with her mom but is scared she will get in trouble by dad & stepmom for not going along with thier story. She loves her mom and still wnats to live with her but doesn’t know what to say to the judge. she is 8, please give me suggestions to tell her.
      Dear Samantha: Oftentimes, a court will appoint a lawyer or a guardian for young children in divorce (custody and visitation) cases. The reason for this is so the facts come out and the judge can decide the issues based on the best interests of the child. If your friend has someone she can talk to before the hearing and explain her position, then it can be passed on to the judge. Some judges allow young children to speak with the judge privately, in the judge’s office, about sensitive matters. The lawyers involved will be present and other court personnel, but the point is that the child will feel comfortable speaking his or her mind out of the presence of the parents. These are all possibilities that may be available in this case. Good luck to your friend.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Destiny
      Thu, 16 Feb 2012 at 07:34

      Hi my name is Destiny. I am 17 and I turn 18 this September. My parents have not gotten along for years now and my mom wants to get divorced. She is afraid that even though I will be 18 that they will have to stay here cuz I won’t graduate till next june. Is that true? When I turn 18 I want to move out so that we all can go our own ways and that would make my mom happy. What’s the law for Idaho for me? Will my parents still have to pay for me? Help please
      Dear Destiny: If your parents get a divorce before your 18th birthday, the court may make certain orders regarding your custody and education. You’re old enough to have a say in this. You may get a chance to speak with the judge. Tell him or her what you’d like to see happen. The age of majority in Idaho is 18 but there may be education laws that apply to you since you haven’t graduated yet. State law says you must be in school until age 16, but in a divorce, a parent can be ordered to continue paying child support beyond age 18 until the person graduates. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • terissa
      Sun, 19 Feb 2012 at 03:51

      Hi my parents divorced when i was starting 5th grade(im half way through 7th) and me and my brothers would spend one week at my moms one week at my dads. But me and my dad had problems and he became very physically abusive pulling my hair if i didnt look at him throwing my across the room sitting ontop of me. At only age ten i bacame very depressed i would dpend the entire week in my room i stopped eating and even thoughtof killing my self eveyday . Cut my wrist with a elk knife once, and one time when ne was about to hurt me i th8ught about stabbing him with it. Eventually it had gotten so bad that by the end of my 5th grade year i was only seeing my dad twice every two weeks but it didnt ge5 better i hated him. Because i hated him and was so distant and depressed when i was around him he tried sending me to a school for juvie girls my mom wouldnt let him thankfully. After that they went to court and i was supposed to be going to counceling about my dad but i havent gone atall. He wants me to start going to his house again but i know emoitionally i cant do that please help i will do anything not to have to visit him but i dint know what to do!
      Dear Terissa: The best thing you can do for yourself is to discuss this with your Mom. Explain how you feel about visits with your Dad. Since you live with her, she is responsible for your care and welfare. If you see the counselor, make sure you tell him or her about your feelings. If you keep everything inside, it’s not good for you and you can’t get the help you need. Good luck, Terissa.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kolt
      Tue, 21 Feb 2012 at 11:38

      I am 16 going on 17 in April. My parents are getting a divorce very soon (next few days) and I was curious if by law would I be able to live with my 31 year old brother instead of living with either one of my parents for a month or so until everything settles. Would that be allowed?
      Dear Kolt: That arrangement may be possible if your parents agree to it. Discuss this with them – it wouldn’t take a court order or approval if they consent. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • stephanie schultz
      Thu, 01 Mar 2012 at 01:43

      well i need your help again. my parents are split up now but i get to choose who i want to live with and i dont know who i tried to talk to them but they were fighting and they didnt listen i dont know who i want to go with my dad is more finacial but my mom has more time with me and i want someone who can be with me most of the time and i want someone who will actually pay for everything as well. what should i do?
      Dear Stephanie: Since your parents are leaving it up to you to decide, let them know that you have something important to discuss with them so that you can all talk calmly during a time that they are not fighting. They will want to hear your thoughts and concerns. Since you are undecided, perhaps you could work out an arrangement where you get to spend time with each parent like spending the weekends with the parent who you don’t live with during the week. Take care and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sierra
      Tue, 06 Mar 2012 at 02:23

      Im 16, I turn 17 in Ocotber, I currently live with my Mom but I absolutley hate it. We dont get along, and I sont feel welcome or that I belong in her life partners house. I want to move out. I was going to get emancioated but I have to be living on my own to do that and my mom wont let me do that either. How can I live with my Dad?
      Dear Sierra: Talk with your Dad about this. He may be able to speak with your Mom and change the living arrangements to living with him and visiting your Mom. Otherwise, you’ll have to make the best of it until you’re 18. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tiffany
      Thu, 08 Mar 2012 at 11:30

      Hi there!
      I’m thirteen and I live in the state of Pennsylvania.
      My mother and father and getting divorced in a few short days.
      Like many of the other questions, I was wondering who would have custody of me/who I’d live with and if I have any say in this. (I’m hoping my dad, seeing as my mother isn’t very kind to me.) Talking to my parents about it seem to be my last resort as I’m very uncomfortable about it.
      I’m not very smart about the laws here whatsoever, so this is mainly why I’m asking.
      Thank you so much! <3
      Dear Tiffany: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. You do have a say in where you live and you should speak with both parents about this. They need to know your wishes and why. In some states the judge may speak with the child or teenager but at 13, you may not have this opportunity. If your parents don’t agree about custody and visitation, the judge will decide and that decision is based on what’s in your best interests. Good luck, Tiffany.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Gary
      Sun, 18 Mar 2012 at 05:26

      Hi I am 16 years old and live in georgia.My mom and dad are divorced.I live with my mom and stepdad. Me and my mom have not been getting along lately. I think it’s in best interest for me to live with my biological dad. I will be 17 in September. Can I decide who I want to live with. Also my brother is 21 and makes steady income and lives in the same city I do. Can I mI’ve in with him also?
      Dear Gary: As long as you’re under 18, you’re required to listen to your parents about who you live with and visitation with the other parent. You’re also required to follow any court orders that have been issued about this. As you get older, however, your position matters more and should be considered by both parents. Talk with them about how you feel and why. Hopefully, you can reach an agreement that’s satisfactory to all of you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Gary
      Sun, 18 Mar 2012 at 08:06

      But in the state of Georgia if you are 17 aren’t you considered an adult.
      The age of majority is 18 in the State of Georgia.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ananda Torres
      Mon, 19 Mar 2012 at 01:11

      Hi I am currently 14. When I was younger my ather left me, so I had not father to grow up with. My mon re-married in 2005, but now their divorcing. Im just conversed what will happen to me and my sister? Do I have to right to chose where I want to live ??
      Thanks
      Dear Ananda: If your step-father did not adopt you and your sister, then your mom would continue to have legal rights and custody over you and your sister. However, if your mother is willing to let you live with your step-father, even if it’s just part-time, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Perhaps you could try talking to your mom about the situation and let her know how you feel. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Rachel
      Tue, 20 Mar 2012 at 07:07

      My biological parents got divorced in 2006 and I am currently living with my dad, step mother and 3 siblings. My dad is verbally abusive and causes many issues in the house. He picks on my step brother and is constantly trying to fight with him. My dad has recently punched, slapped and kicked my step mom in a fight so she kicked him out. This is not the first time that he hit her so i am afraid it will happen again. My dad is now telling me that he is forcing me to live with him if they get divorced. My question is, can i choose to live with my step mom if my dad is verbally and physically abusive?
      Dear Rachel: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. Depending on your age, you may be able to express your opinion about who you live with if this ends up in court. The older you are (closer to 18) the greater the chance that the judge will want to hear from you. You could also be appointed a lawyer or guardian to resolve custody and visitation issues. Discuss this with an adult that you trust and let them know how you feel and why. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mallie
      Sun, 01 Apr 2012 at 01:24

      Dear Judge,
      I’m 15 years old and my parents are about to begin filing for a divorce. I know that my parents are trying to be very amicable about it but my father is a lawyer and he has a lot of influence in my city.(Don’t read too deeply into that, I just mean that any outcome of this situation is going to favor him) He’s taking the house and my mother is taking one of the cars and some of the furniture. She makes much, much less money than him and she had already confirmed that he’s not paying for child support. I don’t understand how child support works. I’m very concerned about this because she’ll need to buy/rent another house in the area and my two siblings and I will live with her for the majority of the time. The custody will be shared but I can guarantee that my siblings will prefer living with her. I have no desire whatsoever to remain with my father but I will most likely follow my siblings to make the transition easier for them. My father is very cheap and he’ll refuse to buy anything unnecessary, leaving it up to my mother to pay for anything that we want. Unfortunately, my mother has a very difficult time denying us of anything and I know that all our extra costs will be left for her to cover. Is there anything that can be done for our financial situation? My mother makes enough money to take care of us, but I don’t want her to suffer because of us. Is there anything that I can do to guarantee that my mom gets child support? Is it better if I just live with my dad so she doesn’t have to pay for me? I just want to do what’s best for my mom.
      Thanks, Mallie
      Dear Mallie: What’s best for your Mom isn’t really the main issue here, although your concern for her is admirable. The court’s job is to see that the law is followed and that parents and children in a divorce situation are treated fairly and equitably. When kids are involved, it is their best interests that the court keeps in mind in making decisions about custody, visitation and child support. At your age, depending on the laws in your state, you may be able to express an opinion through a lawyer appointed for you or through a guardian. Courts differ regarding speaking with teenagers in divorce cases. If you get the chance, let your feelings be known to all involved. We wish you and your siblings the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • MIke
      Sat, 07 Apr 2012 at 02:04

      What if my mother has custody but i would like to live w. my father due to issues with my mom . what should i do
      Dear Mike: The best way to handle this is to speak with both parents. Explain how you feel and what you’d like to see happen regarding custody and visitation. As you get older your opinion matters and many parents respect your wishes as you get closer to adulthood. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jess
      Wed, 18 Apr 2012 at 05:26

      I was born and raised in England. All my family live in england, and i have very strong ties there. My mom went with my dad wherever he needed to go to support his job, and that meant moving to america when i was 10. When i was 12, my parents divorced. We (my mom and two siblings) moved back to england, and remained there for a year. That summer, my parents decided to give it another try so we moved back and have lived here (US) up until now. My mom tells me how she is really, really unhappy. She doesn’t like it here, and she doesn’t love him any more. She says that they just don’t get along, don’t share the same interests, he is unkind and unfair, and that she just wants to go home (to england) and be with her family. She also told me that she could never really forgive him for what he did, which i’m pretty sure is him having an affair. She explained to me she just couldn’t face staying here anymore, and wants me and my two siblings to move back to england with her, while my dad obviously stays here to work.
      My mom spoke with a lawyer, who told her that if my dad makes a fuss, which i have a feeling he will- because he would obviously be totally alone if all his kids left, it will require taking this to court. I don’t even know if i would have a choice as to where i would live. My brother, who is in 6th grade, is fine with anything because he is so young. My sister (8th grade) doesn’t want to leave, but if it came the point of either having to staying here with her dad or going to england, she would for sure choose england. I don’t know if i could handle living practically alone, as my dad works long hours and i would have to become very independent… it would be a whole different life. I don’t really know what my mom would do if both me and my sister didn’t want to leave-when i asked her she said she didn’t want to think about it, and hoped we would change our minds.

      I am a sophomore in high school, and i have known most of my best friends since 5th grade. I only have two years left of high school-the two years i was most looking forward to. If i went to england, i would be entering the 6th form. During the one year I went back to england when my parents first divorced, i went to a lovely school and made really nice friends. But it has been years, and we only kept in contact for about one year. I would be going back to the same school, but i know all my past friends have totally moved on. They have their own friends, and i highly doubt they would be willing to accept me as part of their “group.” I just don’t think I’d find any friends. The education is also different there, and i would probably be behind. The way i see it, once i’m done with high school i will go to college in england. At least thats what i tell myself, but i know that i would love college in american too, perhaps more. And in america you have the option of going in undecided for your major, which i wouldn’t have in england.

      England is my home. i have so many ties there. My family is so close knit and i would love to be close to them, including my grandparents. But i don’t know if it’s worth it to put myself through this. I haven’t even cried yet. i feel like it hasn’t really hit me yet, that my life will change. No matter what i choose. i feel so lost and confused, and i don’t know who to go to, as both my parents would obviously give advice to make me stay with them. I can’t even tell my best friends because it just hasn’t sunk in.
      Dear Jess: First, until a decision is made by your parents about their future and living arrangements for you three, don’t worry yourself sick about this. At your age, if this ends up in court, you may have a say. Many family court judges want to hear from older teens about custody and visitation issues. Instead of keeping your feelings in, find someone you trust to talk to – a friend or their parents, a counselor at school or church member. Also, more importantly, let your parents know how you feel and why. Once they understand your position, they may work something out that’s acceptable to all of you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tesia
      Thu, 10 May 2012 at 01:06

      HELP I’m so scared
      My parents are threatening to get a divorce I don’t want them to because I feel like its my fault. I’m 15 and I have 2 siblings who are 9 and 14. I just don’t know how I would decide who to live with. And how others get through this I’m already emotionally wrecked enough:(
      Dear Tesia: We’re sorry to hear this about your parents. Whatever happens, though, talk to your parents about your feelings. Let them know you’re upset and need help getting through this. You’re not alone and keep one thing in mind: you’re not to blame. The issues are between the adults in this – your parents. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kaitlyn
      Tue, 12 Jun 2012 at 08:49

      I’m 15. My parents have been divorced for 6 months? I live with my dad and I love him.. but I’m pregnant and my mom agreed for me to live with her because she has a room for the baby and me. My dad told me he didn’t want to hear the baby cry or take care of a another child. .I decided it would be best for the child if we went with my mom sence there’s daycares and my doctors is right there. My father told me that we would have to wait 6 months to go to court but I’m already 3 months pregnant. Is there anyway I can live with my mom? They have joint custody & we live in Illinois
      Dear Kaitlyn: If your parents agree to the move to your Mom’s home, there shouldn’t be a problem with going ahead and doing it. It can take months to formally do this through the court and obtain the judge’s approval. But as long as everyone agrees and it’s best for you and the baby, you can go ahead with your plans. Make sure there isn’t any language in the existing court order regarding custody that prohibits this without court approval. Your parents can review the orders issued by the judge. Also, if they had a lawyer representing them in the divorce case, they can speak with that person for advice. Good luck and stay healthy for your child.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • maddy
      Mon, 18 Jun 2012 at 05:09

      My name is maddy, and i’m 11 years old, turning 12 in september 2012.
      Since about march last year,(2011) my parents always wanted to divorce, and they never liked each other since then.
      im always kind of creep since that day, and i always feel lonely in the house. They barely talk to each other unless it’s some important stuff.
      all of my other family members lived in china except my uncle and aunt that lived in vancouver but they can not have me.
      I hope my parents never divorce one day but i have a feeling they will.
      Please give me advise until it’s too late,
      thank you,
      maddy.
      Dear Maddy: We’re sorry to hear about what’s happening at home. Have you talked with your Mom or Dad about this and explained to them your feelings? At your age, they realize you know that things aren’t quite the same as they were before they started talking about divorce. It’s never good to keep everything to yourself when there are adults to help you through this. If you aren’t comfortable talking with your parents, go to another adult you trust to share your thoughts, fears and feelings. You’ll feel a little better just getting it off your chest. Try a relative, teacher or counselor at school or a church member or parent of a close friend. Good luck, Maddy: we’re thinking about you.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mason M.
      Fri, 29 Jun 2012 at 05:27

      Hi. Today, my parents sent me to a friends house for the day to (Behind my back) pack up my stuff and take it out of the house. My mom is moving and wants me to live with her. I love both of my parents VERY much and want to live in the house I grew up in to ensure happiness, but im wondering do I have to make a decision with who to live with permanently? Im 14, turning 15 in November. Thanks.
      Dear Mason: We’re sorry to hear about your family’s circumstances. If your parents agree on the custody arrangements and don’t take the matter to court, then you will have to go along with whatever your parents decide. You should try talking to your parents though and let them know how you feel and where you would like to live. If they understand how you feel, they may try to work out an arrangement that works best for everyone. If they take the matter to court, a judge may want to hear from you. If this happens, be honest and be sure to let the judge know how you feel. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Travis A
      Wed, 04 Jul 2012 at 10:51

      Hello, I am seeking some guidance for my niece in GA. She is in an awful situation between her mother and stepfather (legally adopted her). Neither of the parents are living in their own home, they are staying with their parents. In both situations my niece who is 14 does not have her own room (shares a room with two younger brothers), and their are other issues as well (favortism by her stepfathers parents). Her mother frequently forces her to visit her stepfather simply because her brothers are going. My wife and I have taken note that the visitation schedule isn’t even being followed and that the main reason her mother forces her to go is because she (mom) would prefer to go out and party with friends. First thing I want to know is if my Niece can seek a hearing to grant her the rights to choose when to visit her stepfather instead of being forced to? Also, my niece has asked several times to come live with us and I am willing to add a room in our own home to provide her with her own space and at the very least could room with our daughter. Could I petition the court for temporary custody until the mother has improved her situation to provide an adequate home environment? I fear for the mental health of my niece and question greatly the mothers parenting techniques and abilities. Your help is greatly appreciated.
      Dear Travis: We’re sorry to hear about your niece’s situation. First, because she is a minor, her parents get to make the decisions concerning the custody arrangements. However, it sounds like the parents could not agree and therefore, took the matter to court. If another hearing is scheduled or one of the parents wants the custody matter to come before the judge again, then the judge may want to hear from your niece since she’s a teenager. As for living with you, if her mother and stepfather agree to this, then there wouldn’t be a problem, but they should sign a power of attorney so that if anything happens, you can make medical decisions, etc. for your niece. It’s usually best if the issue can be resolved outside of court. So, perhaps you could try having a serious conversation with your niece’s parents, explain your concerns and how you would be happy to provide for her for awhile. If they do not agree to this, then you could try petitioning the court, but unless there are serious issues going on at home for your niece such as abuse and/or neglect, the court is not going to want to pull her out of her home and away from her parents. Good luck to you and your niece.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Halle
      Sat, 07 Jul 2012 at 02:44

      So my parents are divorced and i live mainly with my mom but i have to go see my dad every other weekend. i hate it. my dad goes to work all day and i sit at home alone in my house when i could be with my mom running errands. he wont let me hang out with my friends even though hes never home. my mom is afraid to speak up to him because he tells his attourney twisted versions of the truth which get my mom in trouble at court. Basically, Im just wondering if i am legally required to see my dad. Do I have a choice or does the court decide everything for me?
      Dear Halle: If the custody/visitation schedule has been ordered by the court, then you all need to comply with the court’s orders. However, if your Mom or Dad take the matter back to court, then you may be given the opportunity to tell the judge how you feel. Perhaps you and your Mom could try talking to your Dad. If he’s willing to let you stop staying with him and stay at your Mom’s, then the judge is more likely to agree with the new arrangement if everyone is in agreement. If your Dad realizes how strongly you feel, he may be willing to compromise with you and at least let you spend some time with your friends while he’s at work. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • maddy
      Wed, 18 Jul 2012 at 05:25

      DEAR JUDGE
      hi, this is maddy again.
      i wanted to talk to my parents but they will never listen! My mom wont help and my dad just ignores me! Every time someone else talks about my parent’s divorce issue, MY DAD ESPECIALLY, GETS CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      My parents told me NEVER to talk about our secret information about my family, but now i really cant help it!
      Amost all of our family members know whats happening with my family.
      THE REALLY SACRY THING IS ONE DAY, MY DAD WAS TALKING ON THE PHONE ABOUT THE DIVORCE THING TO MY GRANDMOTHER AND HE SAID THAT:
      “SINCE MY DAUGHTER WAS A BABY, I WANTED TO BET DIVORCED WITH MY WIFE!”
      “IT WAS ALL BECAUSE OF HER I DIDN’T! BUT AFTER ABOUT ONE, TWO, OR THREE YEARS, I WILL DEFINETLY GET DIVORCED WITH MY WIFE!”
      thanks again,
      Maddy.
      We wish you the best, Maddy, and hope things settle down so you can get on with your life. -Judge Tom

    • jennifer Rodriguez
      Wed, 28 Nov 2012 at 06:54

      ok so im 13 and i am currently living with my mom but she is moving to another state, so i was wondering if i could stay with my grandma here in florida? do ihave to leave with my mom or ca
      n i stay in my grandmas
      Dear Jennifer: At your age, you’re required to live with your parents or with a relative if they allow you to. So, if your Mom agrees with you living with your Grandma and she is willing to take you, then that may work out. Otherwise you have to live with your Mom until you’re an adult at age 18. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ryan
      Sat, 15 Dec 2012 at 06:03

      Hi. I’m 15, turning 16 in May, and my parents are about to get a divorce. I live in Kansas, will I have any choice in what parent I get to live with? It’s almost Christmas and I’m freaking out a little bit.
      Dear Ryan: We’re sorry to hear about your parents’ divorce. A judge may want to hear from any age teen when it comes to making a custody determination, but the older you are (approximately 15-17), the more likely the judge will consider your thoughts and feelings. However, there has to be a court hearing in order for the judge to hear from you, so if your parents’ custody arrangements are being worked out between the two of them without the court’s involvement, there may not be an opportunity to be heard by the judge. Perhaps you could try sitting down with your parents (either together or separately) and let them know how you are feeling. They may not realize how you feel and what you’re going through and may be willing to let you make the decision concerning which parent(s) you live with, how long before switching houses, etc. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tyler Roberts
      Sun, 16 Dec 2012 at 01:55

      hi. im 13 years old and my parents or fileing for divorce and i have to pick someone to live with because im 13 but i dont know who to pick! i dont want to pick.
      Dear Tyler: First, we’re sorry to hear about your situation and your parents’ divorce. At your age, you shouldn’t have to decide which parent to live with. Either your parents will decide if they can agree on the custody arrangements or a judge will have to decide if your parents cannot agree. Let your parents know how you are feeling and that you don’t want to have to make that can of decision. They may not realize how the divorce is affecting you and they may be able to reassure that everything is going to be okay and let you know what they are thinking as far as the custody goes. Good luck and take care.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • rosana
      Fri, 19 Jul 2013 at 12:06

      I am 14 will be 15 the 28th of july, i live with my mom & my two older sisters i have been dying to live with my father for the paST 2 MONTHS i dont get along with my oldest sister im not a good daughter to my mom, i know that. i want to get out of their way & live with my father he has noone, he wants me to live with him aswell, my mom keeps telling me no , i dont know what to do
      my parents have been divorced for a year
      Dear Rosana: Under the law and the terms of your parents divorce, you have to follow what the court has ordered. If your parents agree to a move to your dad’s, then you can go ahead with it. Otherwise, you must listen to your parents or face the consequences of leaving home without permission. Maybe a calm discussion with both parents will help all of you reach an agreement. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

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