Can A 16-Year-Old Modify Child Custody?


Do child custody laws allow for a teenager to change custody agreements?

My ex-wife has had custody of our 16-year-old daughter for many years. Recently, my daughter has said she wants to come live with me partially because my ex-wife and her husband constantly say negative things about me.

To modify custody based on a 16-year-old’s wishes, is it as simple as going to court and my daughter saying she would prefer to live with me, or do I have to prove that the environment in my house is better for her than having her mind poisoned against me in her mother’s house?


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide any legal advice on divorce on the divorce laws in other states.

The short answer to your question is yes. Given the age of your child (over the age of 12), changing child custody can be as simple as filing what is called a Motion to Modify Custody, Visitation and Child Support based on your daughter’s desire to live with you and the fact that your ex and her husband routinely say negative things about you to the minor child in the attempt to poison the child’s mind against you.

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Of course, while it can be that simple, there are other factors that the court must consider. The court is going to look at a plethora of factors to determine whether to grant the change of custody or not.

It is what we call the totality of the circumstances test. After looking at all the factors, the court will weigh the evidence and make a decision.

While I cannot predict what that decision will be, if your 16-year-old daughter is adamant that she wants to move and she can articulate valid reasons for why she wants to move, I believe there is a good chance the court will switch custody.

Additionally, if your daughter is willing to testify that her mother routinely says negative things about you that will only make your chances better that the court will modify custody.

As I am sure you know, a valid reason for your daughter wanting to come live with you is not and cannot be based on bribes, such as “Dad promised me a new car since I’m 16, but Mom said I have to work for one.”

Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and legal advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a family law attorney

To set up an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Brock Ellis, an Associate Attorney in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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12 comments on “Can A 16-Year-Old Modify Child Custody?

    I am about to turn 16. Can these facts apply to ke even though
    My dad is the one that has full custody and not my mom??

    I’m 17 and I do not want to live with my mom. I feel as though my friends family and household is stable for me. His parents also want me to move with them. Is is possible that a court would give them all or atleast joint custody? Seeing as though I will be 18 in one year.

    im 16 and i live with my older cousin i want to move home with my mother. is wanting to move home because my cousin treats me like a slave literately and treats me like crap emotionally and does not let me visit my mother that often because she does not want her house to get dirty a good enough reason to move home that the court will let me go home?

    Custody of 17 yr old
    Can I gain custody of my 17 yr old sister if my parents are willing to sign her other because she wants to live with me? How do I go about it?

    change of custody of teenager ag 16
    Wen we first divorced my ex and I had joint custody. In 2008 I got sole custody of my now 16 yr old son, he was 8 at the time. My oldest son a freshman in HS went with his dad long story shirt my oldest son dropped out of HS and is now married raising a baby while working at pizza parlor and can’t he better job because he can’t pass drug test. He must smoke weed every 30 mins’ my ex step son has pur/accp alcohol minor charge and possession of drug paraphanilia all while living with my ex. M now son 16 wants to live with his dad. He has done great in school with GPA 3.68, football team and lits of friends. He wans to live with dad Cruz of more freedom and no supervision obviously. My ex has not spoken to me before or after he had my 16 yr old son get papers from mail and hand them to me 11 days after post marked. My son was emotionally toe up. My ex alienated me from my oldest son and is doing the same with my youngest son. I’m heart broken but really not for me but for my son. My ex and is wife are very vindictive game playing people . they even tried to get OP on me with my oldest son which judge said was nineesense and through out, my 6 yr old said I ell too much about turning down his TV and poicking up dirty clothes .even though I have sole custody (given to me because judge actually rote in documents “dads motive is to control petitioned and children.”. Now my ex filed for custody of 16 yr old. My an and I have always been very close but I’m the parent and dad is the pal. My son said “everyone thinks I’m more fun at dads because I don’t have to have “manners”” I have every report card , etc showing how ell he has dine. He has also been diagnosed with ADHD and I’m sure he is not making his meds at his dads.the concerns me because he is driving now his much weight will judge gie my sons wishes compared to the his story of ex housssehold, an been in same schools district sine 5th grade and he is stable. My ex is brainwashing him just like he did with my oldest son. I keep him informed on school football etc. Apparenty he his my son practicing football there and I have not agrees to anything. I don’t feel changing schools during junior yr would be good for him since he has ADHD and is doing so well. Ex is playing same game as before that cost him custody. His petition is based on verbal/physical/emotional abuse. He just has a physical 3 weeks ago and no signs of abuse. In tried calling police t enforce custody and visitation order they said call attorney . I got first part of summer which I lost because ex did not send him home now he legally can not be charged with contempt Cruz its hiss part of summer now. I admit I ma be strict but when you just don’t have no support from ex but negative support it is difficult at times., I let son see his father when ever he wants . I haven’t seen my son since school was let out.

    I just read your story and I have the EXACT issue right now; was hoping you could tell me if there is anything I can do. Our stories only difference is it’s my Daughter. She’s in 11th grade also. Please tell me there’s something can do. Her Father has not filed for Custody but she left Friday October 2nd for “his’ weekend; although she’s spent the last 3 weekends there. She hasn’t stayed here since Friday 10/2; she has said multiple times that she is NOT coming back. Like your issue, he lets her come/go as she pleases. Drives over an hour to/from School because she’s Varsity Cheerleader & doesn’t want to change schools. Her father doesn’t discipline her. This week she was caught cheating off another students work; it wasn’t a test. If it had been a text she would have automatically been kicked off the Team. She left because I took her phone due to backtalk, VERY disrespectful and her grades. The very next day her Father bought her a new iPhone 6s. Please tell me there’s something I can do. We live in Alabama and share joint legal custody with visitation. He gets her every other weekend Fri 5p-Sun 5p. To my understanding “Joint Legal with Visitation” means we share decisions together regarding her Education, Religion, Medical etc. with his visitation schedule. She lives with me and attends School & Church here, and has her entire life. She has always been an all A’s in School and been top of her class. Now her only A is in ‘PE”. Rest are very low B’s and low C’s; worst grades she has ever had!

    Im 17, going to be 18 next year. My parents are divorced. And recently in court my dad won an extra weekend. I wasnt called into the courtroom at all. I heard i was supposed to be. Can i go against what he won in court? Or, at least i think i shouldve gotten a say.

    im 16 (in Beaumont tx) and about to be 17 in December im in cps custody and theyre trying to send me with my grandmother in which my dad will be going there in a few days .. hes in a half way house , barely getting out of prison an a registered sex offender. I don’t want to live there. I want to go to san Antonio tx where my guardian lives . and yesterday I talked to my casa worker and she said most likely next week id be going to san Antonio tx with her or to china tx with my cousin matt . but my dad called and said he bought me a bus ticket to go back to my grandmothers house… :/ what can I do? I can refuse it right? if I talk to my lawyer can he do something about it?

    Hi I’m 16 years old and live in Missouri, and have lived with my mother for as long as I can remember, I have mentioned to her multiple times in the past and she always told me no, I have always wanted to live with my father and I want to know if I can, he has been on probation for awhile, will that affect anything in court? Or will I even have to go to court? My main question is how can I get to live with my father.

    I just turned 16 October 29th , approximately 5 months ago my mother kicked me out of her house and I’m now living with my father who wasn’t allowed on my birth certificate…. I’m FINALLY happy and am doing very well in school and emotionally I’m ok givin the circumstances….my mother has reported me as a run away after she came to her senses and we had the whole police interaction etc…. Well she didn’t even take me home, she took me to a very good friend whom has been a huge support system for me during all of this dropped me off with her and left ! So after that I went back to my dads and my step mom contacted my birth giver and notified her where I was and court will be in process… I love where I’m at…. I finally have a full loving family who truly cares about my well being… I do not want to have any thing to do with my birth giver… We have NEVER really got along or bonded at all… I need to included that at A younger age I was physically beat by my little sisters father who’s 10 y/o , with the knowledge of my mother who did not stop the abuse I encountered almost on the daily bases. Now my birth giver is trying to go after my father for child support after 16 years …. I am and have been for 5 months in custody of my father full time… And to add to all this my mother wasn’t sure who my father was until she seen the color of my skin. When I was born adoption was a topic brought up but unfortunately bypassed.. My dad has continually tried to make contact with me but repeatedly failed due to unknown reasons!!?? My step mom and dad has been together for 15 years and my step mom was able to make more progress then my father could to see me and spend time with me.. My father has made mistakes in his past and was in prison but during that time my step mom commutated with my mom on and off because my birth giver would stop talking and litterly fall off the the end of the earth for months, years at a time… But I do know that they never gave up trying, due to pictures and vague memories of a couple holidays…Can she now be granted child support although I’m no longer in her supervision. It’s definitely out of spite and disbelief that when you tell a strong willed, super intelligent , independent 16 year old mixed young lady to ” get out of my house” threw a backpack at me and told me to get whatever can in that bag and watches me walk out her door in complete silence and assisted me in shutting her door behind me. She didn’t expect that I would listen… I tought myself a lot by being in my room all day everyday by myself expecially when she pulled me out of school to sit at home TWICE for 6-10 month doing NOTHING… NO school, friends, love, support etc… I learned myself lol… That if you’re not wanted or welcome somewhere then DONT be there… I refuse to go back into that situation, I’m happy and it finally feels good to say… PLEASE AS MUCH INFO REGARDING THIS MESS WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!! In Colorado , if any 1 can help me with these laws and mine and my fathers rights

    My daughter is 14 yr . Her dad got custody of her and her two brothers of 17 and 16 sinse 2013. They live at Utica.NY. I got married with my new partner. My daughter wants to move with me here at Chicago.. She tells me when she call that she tired of her father because he treat her like a women .he makes her clean the house. Cooking. Don’t let her play with her toys. Have friends. He doesn’t let her take a bath at night just when he said so. She also tells me he keeps talking negative thing about me . That she wishes to be with me soon .. I’m scared she wants to escape from her dad house Cruz she wants to be with me. Any advise??

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