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Can your child ask for changes in custody?

As your child grows older, they may feel that they'd like to see some changes in their custody arrangements. For the most part, they cannot seek those changes on their own and will rely on you to ask for changes to custody through the court if the other parent won't agree outside court.

If the custody arrangements are still working well for you and your ex-spouse, they may just be an arrangement that your child has to live with. However, you should keep in mind that your child's happiness and comfort does matter.

What are some common reasons for children to ask for changes in custody?

There are several common reasons. These include:

  • Puberty: Children in puberty may wish to live with one parent over the other, sometimes the parent of the same gender
  • Changes in friendship: Children who make friends who live closer to one parent may wish to live at that parent's home to be closer to their playmates
  • Trouble at school: Children who are eager to switch school districts may want to live with one parent over the other to do so

These are a few things that might impact your child's preferred home. Of course, these are things to consider. If your child, for example, is starting puberty, it's obvious that they may choose to live with a parent who has gone through what they will go through in the coming years. Similarly, if one parent lives closer to friends or activities, it makes sense that a child would ask to stay at that home more often.

Is a custody schedule modification in my child's best interests?

Sometimes. Usually, a court isn't going to approve modifications that are working well for the people involved. Wanting to move just to be closer to friends, for instance, may not be enough to convince a judge to change a parent's scheduled custody arrangements.

However, if you and your ex-spouse can agree that your custody situation should change for your child's benefit, there is usually no reason why the court would go against your preferences. Unless your child's health is threatened, most courts will approve what you believe is in your child's best interests so long as both parents agree.

Your attorneys can help you both approach the court if you believe that changing your parenting agreement is the right choice and you'd like to formalize the decision moving forward.

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