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Visitation Basics: Your Child Wants a Change in Visitation

Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County child custody lawyers, change in visitationA child’s feelings and attitudes towards their parents change over time. These changes can be influenced by changes at school in a child's social groups and by his or her experiences surrounding the divorce of a child's parents. In some cases, certain changes can support a custody or visitation modification. To be sure, mistreatment by a parent or stepparent can support a change in custody. The same can be said for illegal activities or activities that endanger the child, like drug or alcohol abuse.

However, what if the child simply does not like to spend time with one parent? In this case, can the child choose to simply live with or spend more time with the other?

What if We Just Do Not Get Along?

The parent-child relationship is not always perfect, and often, especially during adolescent years, the child may simply not like his or her parents. Or, the child may get along well with one but not the other. This raises one question: how much can your child’s preference factor into visitation and custody decisions? In reality, your child’s preferences are important but do not ultimately determine child custody and visitation.

There are several reasons why your child may want to live with one parent who does not currently have custody. These reasons include:

  • A disagreement with the custodial parent;
  • The custodial parent disciplined the child and the child does not like it;
  • The child’s friends are changing schools and the non-custodial parent lives closer to the child’s friends; or
  • The child feels he or she has not had enough opportunity to visit the non-custodial parent.

There is no age at which a child gets to decide with which parent he or she will live. Clearly, when the child turns 18, he or she is considered a legal adult and may live as he or she would like. However, before that day comes, using Illinois child custody law, a court will take a number of factors into consideration, including the child’s preferences, when deciding with which parent the child will live. Furthermore, a judge has the discretion to weigh the child’s preferences as he or she chooses.

When deciding how much weight to give a child’s preferences, a judge will consider:

  • The child’s age;
  • The child’s maturity;
  • The reasons for the child’s preferences; and
  • How the change might help or harm the child.

Depending on the circumstances, a court may also request testimony from a therapist or engage a guardian ad litem before deciding to modify a custody agreement.

A Parent Needs Permission to Move His or Her Child

Unless a child is in danger or the other parent agrees in writing to change a custody arrangement, a parent should not attempt to change his or her custody agreement without permission from the court. Moving a child without the other parent’s or court approval could result in criminal charges or civil penalties.

See an Attorney to Modify Your Custody Agreement

Modifying a custody agreement is complex. Both parents will have feelings about the issue; however, these emotions may be separate from how the child may feel. Let the DuPage County child custody lawyers at Davi Law Group, LLC advise you on how your child’s preferences should influence your current custody agreement. Please contact us today for an initial consultation.


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