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Can my child choose their own custody schedule?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Child Custody |

As your child gets older, they are better able to articulate what they want in terms of a custody schedule. This can make co-parenting more challenging if you have a custody order that your child no longer wants to follow.

Many people assume that at a certain age a child can choose their own custody schedule. In most states, this is not true. A child’s preference is generally a factor considered by a court when making custody decisions, but a minor child cannot choose their own schedule.

However, Maryland law is different. Under Maryland law, a child who is 16 years old or older and the subject of a custody order can file their own petition to change custody.

The child must prove their case

A child who files a petition to change custody has the burden of proving why the change is in their best interest. The petition will not be granted unless the court believes the child has valid reasons for wanting the change.

The teenage years are a tumultuous time for children. Differing parenting styles between co-parents may make a child begin to prefer one parent’s household over another.

A court will carefully examine the reasons a child wants the change.

Some reasons are stronger than others

For example, a child who testifies that they can stay up later, eat whatever they want for dinner, go out with their friends and do not have to do homework at one parent’s house and that is why they want to live with that parent full time is not likely to have their petition for change granted.

Alternatively, this law allows a child trying to escape an abusive or neglectful situation the power to try to change it on their own. Evidence that a child is the victim of abuse or neglect could result in a change of custody.

As a parent, it is important to know about this law. You may find yourself in a situation where your own child is filing for custody against you.

Terenzini & Lucero, LLC.

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