Can A Teenager Choose Which Parent To Live With?

teenager Question:

Can a 17-year-old choose which parent they live with? If so, what is the process for moving?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

Where I do practice in Pennsylvania, where a child lives and with whom can be controlled by a custody order and the terms therein regarding physical custody of the child. Such orders typically apply to an unemancipated individual under 18 years of age. See 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5322(a).

Pennsylvania divorce attorney William Phelan
Cordell & Cordell Pennsylvania divorce attorney William Phelan, IV

Assuming there is an existing custody order states that the child is to live only with one parent, then in order for the child to move in with the other parent, there usually is the need to modify the custody order so the move can occur. The custody order can be modified by filing the proper pleading with the court. When custody is to be modified, Pennsylvania courts are required to look at 16 factors to determine what custody award is in the best interest of the child, including which parent is more likely to attend to the daily needs of the child and the parent’s availability to care for the child.

Due to the fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how your state’s laws can specifically help you with this serious situation. This type of attorney should be helpful in providing you specific assistance for your matter.

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

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer William J. Phelan, IV, contact Cordell & Cordell.

End of Content Icon

2 comments on “Can A Teenager Choose Which Parent To Live With?

    I’m not a lawyer or a dad, but my parents did divorce when i was 6 months old. In the custody papers it specifically stated I had the right to choose which parent I lived with at the age of 13. Now, I will say this was back in the 80’s and in the state of Texas, but from what I have read it seems this is very commonly accepted. At the age of as young as 10 in some places as old as 15 children are allowed to have a say in who they live with. If there isn’t an issue with any kind of abuse or neglect, drugs stuff like that the child can pick no problem. If there is a history of these things it is a different story.
    My parents just settled the matter out of court, I moved in with my dad when I was 15 my mom paid child support which went into a bank account. I moved out on my own when I was 17 (in Texas you are considered an adult at 17). I hope this helps anyone in the future.

    What an excellent example of not answering a solitary thing while also wasting several minutes of my time!
    No other industry in America creates rules and protocol that protects it’s members plus ensures future employment like the practice of civil, “justice.”

    Shakespeare had it right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *