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Are you ready for your teen to move in with your ex?

You and your spouse have experienced many changes since the birth of your children. Perhaps the most challenging changes occurred during and after your divorce. Scheduling time with the children may have included arguments and disputes, but if you received primary custody, you were fortunate to be with them more often as they grew.

Now you have a teenager in the house, and this alone is a new experience. However, you may be shocked and confused if your teen recently announced that he or she wants to move out of your house and in with your ex. This is not unusual, but the way you handle the situation may mean the difference in your future relationship with your child.

Keeping the conversation positive

Before you make any moves, you will want to review your custody plan. Whether yours came as an Illinois court order or was a plan you and your ex designed, it is not wise to make any extreme changes without the advice of an attorney.

If granting your child's request is advisable, your legal counselor may recommend seeking a custody modification from the court. This will give you the protection of the law if any disputes should arise in the future. However, you may decide to fight the idea for your child's own good. Nevertheless, you can address the question with your child with these things in mind:

  • Before you reject your child's request, take time to listen to his or her reasons.
  • As difficult as it may be, separate your child's request from your personal feelings and avoid feeling hurt that your child has chosen the other parent.
  • Try to remember how difficult divorce and separation of parents can be for a child.
  • Do not use the opportunity as a time to remind the child of the other parent's failures or to say negative things about your ex.
  • Allow your child to see that you can have a healthy conversation about this difficult topic even if the answer is no for the child's own good.

You may have a valid reason for denying your child's request to move in with your ex. If the court granted you custody, it was likely because you provided more stability and security for the children. Nevertheless, addressing your child's desire for a change is a delicate matter, and you may find that consulting with your attorney provides you with answers and resources to help you resolve the matter in the most positive way possible for the good of your family.

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