Can My Teenage Son Move Out of State to Live with Me? When Can He Decide?

Question:maura boogay attorney pennsylvania new jersey

I moved out of state last year, and my fifteen-year-old son now wants to live with me. My ex is opposed to this.

My son says my ex verbally abuses him. If he refuses to return back home to her after our visitation, do I have to force him on the plane? What are his rights as a teenager?

Can my ex report this as kidnapping if he simply refuses to return back to her?


While I am not licensed to practice law your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.

Each state has a different procedure in custody matters for the relocation of a child. It would appear from your question that jurisdiction remains in one state as the child’s home state. In that event, you would have to follow the formal procedure to request the relocation of the child to live with you.

Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, your child’s state court may grant it, and it may be helpful that your son is already fifteen as well as essentially refusing to go.  You want to get into the specifics as to your ex, if she’s abused your son, etc. to help build your case.

If you just do not send him back to her, she does have legal recourse such as an emergency petition seeking an order for him to be returned. Again, each state has different guidelines for such a petition.

My suggestion would be that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible so you can get a complaint filed with the court in your son’s state requesting the relief you are seeking.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey divorce lawyer Maura Boogaycontact Cordell & Cordell.

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One comment on “Can My Teenage Son Move Out of State to Live with Me? When Can He Decide?

    I let my 15 year old son go stay with his Dad for a little bit to see how things would go and he wanted to see his Dad. Now things aren’t going so good and I’m the custodial parent I love in Florida and my x lives in Indiana. My x won’t let him come back home to me and is avoiding all my calls. What can I do?

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