Deciding Where Children will Live After a Divorce

When children are involved in a divorce, this can make a separation much more emotional and difficult. There are likely to be lots of things that children will want to ask about the situation, and this is a time when it is important to make sure that children are feeling safe and secure as well as making sure that their feelings are being heard and that they are not feeling powerless or miserable.

For the legal side of the split, such as finances and property, as well as the legal documentation relating to the divorce, you will need a solicitor like this family law solicitors Gloucester based firm who will be able to deal with this for you. When it comes to children however, something that commonly crops up when thinking about this is where the child will live and how arrangements for the child’s living situation will be made.

The main thing that needs to be taken into account here is the fact that the priority when making these decisions needs to be the child’s welfare and what is in their best interests. But what happens if the child expresses a particular wish for where they want to live and where they want to spend their time?

By law, a child is not allowed to decide where they are going to live until they reach the age of 16 – this is for whomever has parental responsibility to decide. However, before they reach this age it is not uncommon for children to express views about what they want, and they should be listened to and made to feel heard when they are having these feelings.

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If a child expresses a wish to move in with the other parent, the first thing to do is listen and have a calm conversation about it. Parents may often feel upset by this and that is normal, but the child should be able to express an opinion and let you know how they are feeling. It may be something as simple as the fact that they don’t have as far to travel to school at the other house or that their friend lives nearby for example!

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If parents cannot agree when this comes up, this will then need to go to court so that a formal arrangement can be made. In this case the judge will often take what the child wants into account as well as the practicalities of the situation, so even though a child is under 16, they can technically still have their voice heard in court if they have a desire to live in a particular home.

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