Ask A Lawyer: Can I Live With My Dad?


I am 14 years old. I live Arkansas. My mom has custody of me but I want to go live with my dad to go to a better school. My dad doesn’t have a lot of money to hire a lawyer.

What are the laws pertaining to me living with him?

What are my chances of him getting custody of me?




While the details and procedures regarding custody determinations vary from state to state, the primary consideration is as to what custody arrangement is in your best interests considering all factors, such as each parent’s skills and abilities to care for you and the benefits of each parent’s home and school environments.

If your father and mother can discuss the merits of your desires, perhaps with input of your teachers or others as to how the move would benefit you, your parents can have any agreement for you to change residences put into a court order by an attorney for relatively low cost.  However, it is important that any agreement between your parents for you to move be approved by the court to be effective.

Assuming you mother does not agree to a change in your residence, your father will need to seek a court review of the situation.   Your father will need to consult with a family law attorney licensed in Arkansas, assuming that is the state with jurisdiction over your parents’ divorce, to assess his options, expenses, and likelihood of success.  Many family law attorneys offer low cost consultations to give fathers an assessment of their chances in obtaining custody. 

While it is generally possible for a father to seek court review of the custody situation without an attorney, custody cases are particularly complicated and your father should consult a qualified attorney.


Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues. 

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