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How to handle a request for your child to live with your ex

At some point, after your divorce and custody matters have been settled, you may be faced with your son or daughter asking to go live with their other parent full-time.

It may come seemingly out of left field, or more likely, on the heels of a particularly acrimonious argument. The idea may shake you to your core, but it’s a common occurrence. Here’s what you need to know before you make any decisions about changing the custody arrangements.

  • Communicate freely. Your child may have valid concerns, like a wish to enroll in a better school system. Finding out what led to the request can be illuminating and give you an idea of how to proceed.
  • Empathize with your child. Divorce can be a tough transition to make. Acknowledging your child’s point of view doesn’t mean that you agree but is respectful.
  • Talk to your ex. They may not even be aware that your child is angling to move in with them. Regardless, they will surely have an opinion on the matter.
  • Share your concerns. If you’re worried that mom is too lenient or dad works too long of hours, address these issues with your child. There may be a solution available.

It’s also important that parents don’t take these requests personally. Relationships between parents and teens wax and wane over the years, and this could be just a bump in an otherwise well-traveled road. You also should remember that just because a change is requested doesn’t mean you must acquiesce.

Should you decide to pursue the matter further, your Tennessee family law attorney can provide advice and guidance regarding any proposed changes to your custody agreement.