In Illinois, children have the right to choose which parent they want to live with once they are 14 years old. At that age, most judges and courts would agree that children are old enough to understand who they want to live with and the repercussions of their choices. However, it’s important to note that the judge can veto the child’s choice if they believe that the custody arrangement isn’t in their best interests.
As a parent, you may not be ready to let your child choose, but is it a good idea to give them the opportunity? Is it time to let them tell you what kind of custody schedule they want and what would work better for them?
This is a question without a simple answer. Children all mature at different rates, and they may not fully understand why their custody schedule is what it is today. It’s a good idea for you, your ex-spouse and your child to sit down and have a discussion if you think that your child is now old enough to make some decisions about custody themselves.
Talk to your child about any scheduling requirements you or the other parent have because of work, and let them know that you support what they want to do. You may want to provide a basic schedule and ask for their input.
Some children will opt not to change what is already in place and may ask you to continue making decisions, so they don’t appear to take sides. If you listen to them, you can determine what kind of schedule is best and help your child express their own wishes, too.