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In a divorce, can a child decide with which parent he or she will live?

Not necessarily. Children under 18 are minors and do not have the ultimate say in where they live. In a divorce, the court decides the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the minor children, based on what is in the best interests of the children. The parents can also decide, if they choose a shared parenting plan that is acceptable to the court.

In some cases where parents are fighting for custody, the judge may decide to interview each child privately, when one of the parties requests the court to do so, regarding the child’s wishes and concerns about where to live. The child’s wishes and concerns are then considered as one of the factors in determining which parent they live with.

Other factors considered are: (1) the wishes of the child’s parents; (2) the child’s interaction and interrelationship with the child’s parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest; (3) the child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community; (4) the mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation; (5) the parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights; (6) whether either parent has failed to make all child support payments that are required of that parent pursuant to a child support order; (7) whether either parent or any member of the household of either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being abused or neglected or other similar crimes; (8) whether the residential parent or one of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent’s right to parenting time in accordance with a court order; and (9) whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside the state. O.R.C. § 3109.04(F)(1). For more assistance, contact Gertz Law Firm at 583-1549.

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