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How old do you have to be to decide which parent you want to live with?

New Cumberland, PA |

I am 16 years old and currently live with my mom and brother in Pennsylvania. My parents have been separated since I was six years old. We used to live in Maryland but moved to PA almost two years ago.

My mother and I don't get along very well.. We are always at each others throats in arguments, and can't seem to agree on anything.

My dad still lives in Maryland with his new wife and my step-sister.. About two hours away from my house. He has told me that I could come live with them. (There are a couple rooms in the house that I could move into.)

I really want to move in with my dad since I don't get along with my mom. But also to get a fresh start (I have been struggling in school) Like I said my dad and step mom are okay with me moving in.. But my mom doesn't like the idea at ALL!

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Attorney answers 1


children never get to make the final decision on which parent is the one where they will resided. However the courts will consider the age, maturity and intelligence of the child in determining what degree of consideration will be given to the child's desires. Being 16 is a tough time for all teenagers and often very tense between the child and the parents. It may be that you will be running from what seems to be a unmanagable living arrangment to a different one that might be worse in the long term. You should identify why you cannot find a way to success here in school, before any move takes place. You should also sit down with your mother and have a mature conversations to identify what concerns you have and ask her what her issues are with you. Try to address them. Once you are on good, or better terms, then it is healthy to determine if you should move. Make both of your parents a part of your decision making. Be a team and do what is best for you.

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