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14 Year Old Daughter Wants to Live with Mom

Started by JaxFlDad, Aug 18, 2004, 05:11:21 AM

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To give you a bit of background...  I became a single dad the year before my daughter entered kindergarten.  Her mother left her, her brother and me "to find herself" and apparently found a boyfriend (now husband) 2 months later.  For many years I was a single dad, I did everything for the kids, got them to school, got them involved in church, supported their activities, shuttled them to day care and summer camp, took on most of the financial responsibilities (my ex does pay a modest sum in shild support).  All with never a bad word about tier mother.  The kids grew to idealize thier mother, she is cooler, allows them much more freedom, does not make them do chores, does not make them go to church, and buys them everything they want -- not necessarily what they need.  My ex currently has her motehr, sister, and sister's three children living in the same house with her.  I recently learned that over the summer, my daughter had to share her room and bed with her female cousin.

Three years ago I remarried a wonderful lady who is very involved in my children's lives.  She supports everything I have tried to instill in my children and advises me when she thinks that the kids are straying and I have overlooked something.

Last week, my now 14 year old daughter told me she wants to live with her mother.  I told her that I needed to think that over and have concluded that that is not in her best interest.  My daughter said last week that she was willing to take it to the court if I do not willingly let her live with her mother.  Given the information I have provided, please let me know your thoughts on how to handle this situation.  I am certain that her moving in with her mother is the wrong thing, however I am afraid I may alienate my daughter if I take a hard stance.



First of all, your daughter cannot take it to court,, she is a minor. The only people who CAN do so, is yourself, and her mother.

What are mom's thoughts on the subject?


My daughter says that her mother has told her it is her decision.  That she will not be upset with her either way.  

However, she will do whatever she can to assist my daughter in getting her way.  Whether it is for her best interest or not.

Kitty C.

Like PD said, your daughter cannot petition the court for a change......BUT there's nothing stopping the ex from trying it.  Do you think she would?  And why would it take prompting from your daughter for her to do so?  And why doesn't your son feel the same way?

Even if that does happen, there MUST be a 'significant change of circumstance' to warrant a modification of the current order, which is what you'd be doing.  And her wanting to live with Mom just because she's 'cool' and gives her everything she wants is NOT good enough.  As kids get to that age, judges are more inclined to at least listen to them and their preferences and why.  But if she can't give a valid, mature reason why she wants to live with Mom, it ain't gonna fly.  And having one child wanting a change and not the other will be looked at, too.

But I'd still recommend contacting an atty.....I've got a feeling, regardless of the outcome, that you're gonna end up back in court.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


Most states base custody decisions on what is in a child's best interests. In so doing, they evaluate all factors including the wishes of the child.  Although the child's desires are only one factor, as the child matures, their desires become more persuasive.  There is one state that I know that creates a presumption that custody should be changed if a child at age 14 deccides that   is what they wish to do. I believe it is Tennesse.

Check your state statutes.

By the way, only the other parent can take it to Court, not your daughter.

You may wish to consider a stipulation for a temporary change of custody that reverts to you again in a certain period.  At that time you can evaluate how it has gone--school grades etc...


Let her go for a year as a trial. Young teens are very wishy-washy. She might be wanting to come home in a few months.  At times everyone feels alienated from them.

It may not be what you feel is in her best interest, but you be able to prevent if the courts allow her to choose.


I would think the daughter means, she will allow Mom to take it to court, and will go along with it.