Teenager Wants to Live With Non Custodial Parent: 6 Tips

It can be difficult when a teenager wants to live with non custodial parent, but you don’t want to allow that as a custodial parent. There are many things to consider, and convincing the child to alter their decision or handle the overall situation can be tough.

In this post, I will discuss 6 easy ways to deal with this situation. Each method has its pros and cons, so you will need to decide which is right for your child.

Teenager wants to live with non custodial parent

Can a child decide to live with a noncustodial parent?

Before describing how to handle this situation, I want to discuss this legal point. Can a child decide this, especially if a court order favours the custodial parent?

If there is no child custody agreement or child custody court order, the child can decide to live with whoever they want. But, if there is an agreement or court order specifying that the child will reside with the custodial parent, then the child does not have the right to choose which parent to live with.

The non-custodial parent would need to petition the court and provide a compelling reason why the child should reside with them. The court would then decide if it is in the child’s best interest to live with the non-custodial parent.

A child’s wishes in the court:

According to all state laws, courts are bound to take into account the child’s wish about this matter only if the child appears to be mature enough to make the decision in the eye of the court. There is no age limit to measure this mature enough standard. It might be 10 years or 17 years. The court will decide that.

Teenager Wants to Live with Non Custodial Parent: 6 Ways to Deal

Now come to the original point. The decision for a teenager to live with their non-custodial parent is a big one that should not be taken lightly. There are many factors to consider, such as the child’s relationship with both parents, the stability of each home, and the resources each parent can provide.

If the custodial parent feels that the child’s decision is not in their best interest, there are several things they can do to convince the child to alter their decision or control the situation.

#1. Keep patience:

It may be hard to hear that your child wants to live with the other parent, but you must remain calm. This can be a difficult and emotional time for both you and your child, so it is important to be patient and understanding.

This doesn’t mean you have to agree with your child’s decision, but try to see things from their perspective. If you can remain calm and level-headed, it will be easier to discuss the situation rationally.

Avoid yelling or arguing with your child, as this will only worsen the situation. Instead, try to have an open and honest conversation about why you think living with the other parent may not be in their best interest. Listen to their reasons and try to understand their perspective.

#2. Find out why not like you:

This is the most crucial point.  You need to know the reasons behind your child’s decision. There might be several reasons, not getting enough love and attention from you, thinking that the other parent can provide a better life, or simply wanting to try something new.

Whatever the reason, it is important to find out why your child wants to live with the other parent. This will help you to address the underlying issues and convince your child to change their mind.

You can ask your child directly why they want to live with the other parent, or you can try to get information from mutual friends or family members. Once you know the reasons behind your child’s decision, you can start to work on fixing the problems.

If your child is simply seeking attention, try to spend more quality time with them. Plan fun activities that you can do together, such as going to the movies or out to eat. Let them know that you love and care about them, and be sure to express your affection regularly.

If your child feels like they are not getting enough resources, such as clothes, food, or toys, try to provide them with what they need. Show them that you are willing to make sacrifices for them and that you are there for them when they need you.

If your child wants to live with the other parent because they think they can provide a better life, try to talk to them about the stability of your home. Explain that you can provide a stable and loving environment for them and will do everything you can to meet their needs.

Let them know you are willing to work together to improve things, but explain that running away is not the solution.

#3. Give more quality time:

You might be busy with your career, but your child needs you. They need your time, love and attention. So, instead of materialistic things, give them more quality time.

Plan weekend outings, go for a movie or dinner together, play their favourite game with them or simply spend some time talking to them every day. This will make a big difference in their lives and make them feel loved and important.

By showing your child how much you love and care about them, you can convince them to change their mind about living with the other parent.

Teenagers are going through many changes in their lives, so it’s important to be understanding and supportive. If you can provide a stable and loving home, your child will likely want to stay with you.

#4. Express your logic peacefully:

This is not the time to show your angriness with your child. Rather, you should peacefully express your logic. Try to make them realise that living with the other parent is not good for their future and may also create some legal issues.

Remind the teenager that they have a right to be contacted by both parents, even if they live with one of them full-time. The other parent should not be shut out of their life just because of where they live.

But, never try to alienate your child from the other parent. This will only worsen things and could damage your relationship with your child, and in future, it might backfire.

If you can convince your teenager that living with the other parent is not in their best interest, they may change their mind. However, be respectful and understanding throughout the process.

Don’t bad-mouth the other parent or make your child feel guilty about their decision. This will only push them away and make them more likely to want to live with the other parent.

#5. Include your ex in the discussion:

If they haven’t already, it would be best if you and the other parent discussed it before involving the child. Try to understand each other’s objectives so that a resolution can be reached more easily. Though not everyone has to agree in the end, truly hearing each other out will bring you closer to a solution.

You can also include the child in the discussion if they are old enough. This way, they feel like their opinion matters and that their feelings are being considered. Make sure everyone is on the same page so that no one feels left out or misunderstood.

Other parents may show some resistance in this discussion but remember, it is for the betterment of your child. So, don’t get disheartened; keep trying to convince them until you both find a solution.

#6. Get help from the therapist:

If you are having trouble communicating with your teenager or if the situation is becoming too heated, it may be helpful to seek out professional help. A therapist or counsellor can provide guidance and support during this difficult time.

Teenagers often respond well to therapy, giving them a chance to express their feelings and work through their problems in a safe and confidential setting.

Do you need to know more about what happens if your child wants to live with the other parent? Terri Herron Law discussed this matter deeply here:

FAQs on Teenager Wants to Live With Non Custodial Parent

What do you do when your child wants other parent?

It can be difficult to manage when your child wants the other parent. On the one hand, you want to support your child’s relationship with the other parent. But on the other hand, you may feel like you’re being pushed out of the picture. It’s important to remember that your child needs both parents in their life.

So try to find a way to work together with the other parent. This may involve communicating regularly, sharing parenting duties, and being flexible with your schedule.

By cooperating with the other parent, you can ensure that your child gets the love and support they need from both parents.

Can a custodial parent stop a child from living with a non-custodial parent?

The custodial parent can prevent the child from living with the non-custodial parent if there is a danger to the child in that home.

The custodial parent can also prevent the child from living with the non-custodial parent if the non-custodial parent is abusive, neglectful, or has a substance abuse problem.

If the custodial parent believes the child would be better off living with the other parent, then the custodial parent can request that the court change the custody arrangement. Ultimately, it is up to the court to decide what is in the child’s best interests.

Suppose the custodial parent prevents the child from living with the other parent without a legitimate reason. In that case, the other parent can file a motion with the court to have custody modified.

What are the legal grounds for child custody?

The legal grounds for child custody vary from state to state. But in general, courts will consider the following factors when making a custody determination:

– The child’s age and health

– The child’s relationship with each parent

– Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs

– Each parent’s work schedule and parenting schedule

– The child’s preference (if the child is old enough to express a preference)

– Each parent’s mental and physical health

– Any history of abuse or neglect

– The distance between each parent’s home

The court will also consider other factors relevant to the child’s best interests. Ultimately, the goal is to make a custody arrangement in the child’s best interests.


Teenagers often want to live with the parent they feel closest to, even if that means leaving the other parent behind. If your teenager has expressed a desire to live with the other parent, it can be a difficult and emotional situation.

However, there are ways to deal with this situation without damaging your relationship with your child. By remaining calm and understanding, you can convince your teenager to change their mind about living with the other parent. If you need help, don’t hesitate to seek out professional assistance.

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