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Dad's house didn't have any rules, but did have lots of dollars available.

Your Kid Wants To Live With Ex


Your Kid Wants To Live With Ex


Tips On How To Cope If Your Child Wants To Change Homes


By BRUCE MCCRACKEN

    Seven years ago, when her son left to live with her ex-husband, “my heart was just shattered,” said administrative assistant, Melinda Johnson, 53, of  Sacramento, Calif. He was 17, and Johnson had only been divorced for four years after a 19-year marriage. “I opposed my son moving there. Dad's house didn't have any rules, but did have lots of dollars available.”

Johnson's reaction was a typical one, according to said Stephanie Burchell, Ph.D., a licenses marriage and family therapist from Dallas, Texas. “When a child chooses one parent over the other some parents may experience feelings of rejection, disloyalty, and abandonment,” explained Burchell. This can result in “conjuring up old wounds and reminders of a failed marriage.”  


However, Burchell said, the real issue for the child is "the longing for a loving and supportive connection with that parent.” There may be “an effort to fill the empty void in their life that they may not be currently receiving from the relationship with the custodial parent.”   
d360: Help your child cope with divorce

Dr. Michelle New is a clinical child psychologist and founder of Kentlands Kids, a private practice in Gaithersburg, Md. “This usually becomes an issue when the child reaches adolescence and is trying to reduce the amount of conflict in their current home and/or hopes there will be fewer rules and more freedom at the other parent’s home. They may simply fall prey to the common wish for the ‘other side’ where the grass is always greener.”  

Johnson’s opposition eventually caused some friction with her son: “It was just an ugly time...My fear for my other children's safety escalated. He began doing mean things.... I was almost glad that he went.”  

In most states, the child does not have the right to change custody. “It is always up to the judge,” according to Lee S. Rosen, president of Rosen Law Firm in North Carolina. “Once custody has been awarded, the rule is that there must be a significant change in circumstances. In most states, a child simply wanting to be with the other parent would not be considered a change in circumstances.”  
d360: My parents want me to decide where to live - kids POV

“The test is what is in the best interests of the child,” he said. “There are not a lot of detailed judicial guidelines so as to give judges a tremendous amount of discretion as what is in the best interests of the child based upon the testimony that they have heard. In most states, if the child is old enough and mature enough to express an opinion in the custody, the court will give their opinion weight. Old enough and mature enough is generally considered to be around ten or twelve years of age. As the child gets older, the weight given to the opinion becomes much more significant.”  
d360: How to coparent

“Beware of this,” cautioned New. “Kids may decide they want to leave, exhausted parents may agree. Then a week later, the other parent is on the phone asking to take them back." 

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