A common question for Illinois parents is about when their children will be old enough to choose who they will live with. State laws concerning child custody vary, but some states allow children as young as 10 to express their desire for one parent over the other. This preference could be given weight during a custody trial and result in the non-custodial parent being given child custody. However, issues like this can also affect child support, encouraging the parents to fight in court for custody of the child.

Unfortunately, teenagers can often seek one parent over the other simply because one has less rules or discipline than the other. Older children often realize their choice matters and will often seek approval to live with the less strict parent. Courts often determine the best interests of younger children based upon academic, emotional, psychological and financial needs of the child. Older children often have much more flexibility with their custody.

A judge will not often force the issue of visitation on a teenager who doesn’t get along with a parent. Teenagers can often be difficult to live with and may have self-serving interests. They can often be swayed by the parent that has more money or dotes more on the child, without the benefit of discipline. As such, parents may need to think hard about pursuing custody, especially if it ends in a court fight.

Child custody is a subject that can be difficult emotionally. Illinois parents with older children may be affected like a situation like this and have to make the decision on whether to pursue such a battle. While it may seem like a betrayal for a child to choose the other parent because of material things, it is not unheard of. However, parents have legal rights and can fight the decision, especially if they think it is not in their child’s best interests.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Who Gets The Kids?” Jacqueline Harounian, Nov. 23, 2012