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Daughter Wants to Live with Father

I have 15 yr old who want to live with her father after 14yrs. I say no, but she keeps telling me that i can't stop her, who know what age is it when they can decide?

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I still have not let her move to her dads, and really don't know if i will. Due to the fact I don't like his life style, he like to drink all the time, (Not sure if he still gets high) he says he does not, but I don't know for sure. I will let her go in the summer time but during school I doubt it. There won't be anyone there when she gets on the bus or off. I don't feel comfortable with her being by herself. To many preditors.

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Hiya I am in a similar situation. I really battled with this issue. But I thought that if I kept her then she would rebel even more. Maybe she needs to see for herself that it is not always greener on the otherside.

Unfortunately at the age of 13yrs. children have the right to decide which parent they want to reside with!

I looked into this when my now 19 year old was 13 - in the state of Texas he can decide at age 13. After going thru everything we worked things out and he ended up not going to his father's as he didn't want to lose his friends, change schools, etc. So he decided things were not so bad at home after all.

Good Luck

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As you've seen by the other responses, 12 is the age at which a child in Texas can voice their opinion about which parent they would like to live with. My husband and I went through a major battle to get custody of his then 14 year old daughter because her mother fought it. She was unable to prove that he was an unfit, uninvolved father. In Harris County, the judges often appoint an Amicus (which is an attorney who represents the child). The Amicus will visit both households, interview both parents and interview the child privately. The Amicus' opinion weighs the heaviest. After a year long battle, my "bonus" daughter came to live with us her freshman year of high school. She is now a junior. Last June, his 12 year old son decided that he wanted to move in with us as well. Instead of the brutal 18 month long court battle, there was a 3 hour mediation where it was agreed that he would move in.

The reason both children wanted to move in with us is because they have a voice in our home. Their mother wouldn't let them express themselves verbally or otherwise. The rules in our house are actually more strict than at their mothers, showing that kids need and want boundaries.

Good luck to you! I know that this has to be heartwrenching for you. Talk to her and more importantly, let her talk to you openly without fear of you freaking out on her. You can get to the heart of the matter if you listen to her heart.

1 mom found this helpful

After "suicidal" threats, I relented to let my then 12 year old daughter live with her dad. It has been the best thing for their relationship. At that point they only tolerated each other, but now they have grown to love each other. While that doesn't seem to be the "best" for me, I think that I had to consider what is in her best interest.
It may also be a jealousy issue to the youngest addition to the family. We had also added to our family.
After making it perfectly clear that there would be flipping back and forth from one house to the other, it has been three years. I think my ex-husband is better suited to handle the "teenage" years.

If she has choosen to live with her father then there is nothing that you can do about it. It will be of her choice. You have taught her values, morals and sometimes they think it greener on the other side and once they are there it's not.
If the age is 13 by law then there is no way you can keep her from going to stay with her dad. But maybe meet her half way allowing her to go on weekends and summer vacations and Holidays. But she has to come back and go to school where you and your husband live.

I believe the age is 12 years old. I am also in that same situation. My son is twelve and whenever he gets upset with me, he always tells me that he wants to live with his father. Let me know what you find out and Good Luck to you.

Unfortunately, she has well reached the legal age to decide. She is able to sign an affidavit stating who she would prefer to reside with. Of course, this is presided by the courts, and only you or her father can have the papers drawn up.

Dear Sharon,
In Texas a child may voice a preference to the judge about who they live with when they are 12. Good luck with your blended families and new marriage. I hope there is a solution that everyone can live with.

Hi Sharon,

Ok, the other 2 ladies are right, the age is 13. However, there are things you can do about it, if you are willing to take the time and possibly even fight. Get an attorney, talk to your ex. Your daughter can't just up and go and that's that. What will need to happen, is new papers will need to be drawn up stating who the minor child resides with. Then once you have retained counsel, let them know that you DO NOT want this. Explain to the attorney (and later the judge) why. The Judge will very much consider what is in the best interest of the child. If you have provided a stable, sound, comfortable and non abusive home you will have an amazing chance at keeping her with you. How is her father? That will be the grounds for comparison. Does he make good money? Can he support her? Does he pay child support? Is it current/on time? Does he have a room for her at his house? Is it clean? I know it seems like a lot but all things will be considered. I hope this helps and good Luck!

Hiya I am in a similar situation. I really battled with this issue. But I thought that if I kept her then she would rebel even more. Maybe she needs to see for herself that it is not always greener on the otherside.

I don't know what state you live in, but in Texas a child can be heard by a judge as early as 13. It depends on the child maturity, reasons for wanting to go etc. Good luck and God Bless!

If you are in Texas the age is 13. They must go before a judge unless mutually agreed upon.

Is there any danger involved with her living with her dad? I mean is he a drug or alchohol user? Does he party too much? How much freedom will he give her? How far away is he? If he is a responsible dad and you feel he could care for her, then you should probably let her go. If you don't she will resent you and leave as soon as she is able and your relationship will be strained. I know it is hard and you can't help but take it personal and it hurts, but this doesn't mean you are abandoning her or won't make any efforts to see her and spend time with her. There will be a "honeymoon" time for awhile, like when they are at camp, but eventually, she may begin to miss you and ask to come back.

It sounds to me like your daughter may feel overwhelmed with the competition of a new sibling, and stepbrothers. This is not saying that you do not love your daughter dearly...I'm sure you do or you would not be asking for advice.

Do you spend alone time with your daughter...just you and her? Have you asked her why she wants to leave? Open the subject for discussion and see what she says.

Best wishes to you and your family!

At 12 she can make that decision for herself. However, if the father is not fit, you may be able to legally keep her. It all depends on a judges decision, if it is decided in court. If the father is not unfit, there is really nothing you can do.

I would recommend letting her go and learn for herself. She will only rebel if you try to prevent her. It's really hard, but I did the same thing at her age-----I came back.

they can decide at age 13 who they want to live with. we went through this recently with my step son. good luck! it is a battle.

D. Mattern-Muck
The MOM Team
Raise your income and your rugrats at the same time.

At 17, females in the state of Texas, are free to do as they please, unfortunately.

Who in the world decided that a 17 y.o.child is mature enough to make life altering decisions??? *sigh*

I feel for you, though I have no sound advice. Pray about it! Sometimes it's all we can do.

Have you and your Ex discussed how HE feels about it?

I think its 13 or 14.

Unfortunately, age 12. There are great websites that contain the TX Family Code so you can read for yourself not only what her options are but what your rights are. I can't remember off hand the actual address but you can yahoo search "Texas Family Code" & one of the sites will actually have and address with TX in it, I found it to be the most helpful - there is also Find Law website but it doesn't list the most current amendments to the law. The section that applies to custody is 153 so you can even seach TX Family Code 153 for some insight.

I don't know what type of father she has but you may find yourself in the same boat my daughter is in where you have to go out of your way to find things to discredit him, in order to keep your child. Remember, even if she goes to him & there are things you don't approve of that would make him look bad, i.e. allowing her to drink, allowing inappropriate sleep overs or parties, her missing school, relationship with a boy who is too old, etc. document it all, even if you have to do some spying or hire an PI, you can take him back to court.

I know how bad this has to be hurting your heart & mine definitely goes out to you. Ideally it would be great if you and your ex could work out something, maybe a trial period for her to live there so that she sees that its not all fun & games at dad's house (if he supports your rules) & once she lives there he won't have the money he has now to entertain her when she's with him or the time (if those things are issues currently). From all that I've heard from friends in your situation the desire to go to another parent is usually due to the child believing they'll have more freedom or material things given to them by the opposing parent. Have you talked with her dad about this, he may not want to be a full-time parent & would solve the whole issue w/o it having to go to court.

Keep me updated. I'll add you to my prayers.


I would sit down with her and her father and find out what she expects from moving in with him. Full time is way different from part time. The father should explain what responsibilities he would expect from your daughter living there full time. Maybe after hearing the expectations, she would change her mind. Also, has it been discussed about the 15 month old. What about the other siblings? There might be some jealousy. What are her reasons for wanting to move out? 15 year olds should have some say in where they want to live but should have to justify what their reasons are, not just they are upset with the current parent(s). You might want to try a temperary trial period.

Good luck!!!

Let her go cause they leave any way once they reach that age to leave and it's worst because they leave with out telling you why .
Yes it just happened to me with my younges daughter she just turned 18en and left with out cause but GOD is giving me lot's of hope for a better tomorrow.

A child can decide at the age of 12 whom they want to live with. May be it can take some burden off of you, and you never know she may be back sooner than you think. The only question is the father going to come back at you for child support? That is one of the issues, unless you have some kind of verble agreement, and second how is your relationship with the father now? You can make this a smooth transaction or not it is up to you. Some times it is OK to let them spread thier wings, you will never know unless you try.

i know how you feel i had both my stepdaughters living with me and my husband for almost 5 years and when the oldest one was 2 weeks shy of her 16 bday she decided to go back to her moms and the same thing happened to other daughter but it was 2 months after her 16 bday and it all came down to BOYS in our house there is rules and at the other house there is no rules so they decided to go where they would have freedom it sucks but they have to learn on their own it is hard to say that but it is true is ther a certain reason why she wants to live with her father

I was 15 yrs. old when I did this to my mom. I went and stayed with my dad and realized the grass isn't always greener on the other side. It is a power trip for her. She thinks she has it so bad at your house so wants to live with her dad. She is also probably jealous of your new relationship and misses having your attention due to the new babies. As hard as it may be, I say let her try living with her dad. It could be a good lesson.

Hi Sharon, I have 2 step childern (12 yr old and 10 yr old Boys)and my husband and i would love for his boys to live with us. At the age of 13 they can decided where they want to live. We're just hoping the boys would like to live with us. I know its hard to let them go after they been with you for so long. Just try to let your child live with her dad for a while. She might or may not like that life style. Give her sometime to think about it. Good Luck. K.

I'm not an attorney but I am a paralegal and in Texas they can decide when they are 12 but that still does not mean that the judge will order them to change houses. She could sign the paper saying she chooses to stay with her dad all she wants but unless her dad takes you back to court and the judge sends her there, she is stuck with you as long as you want.

I looked into this when my now 19 year old was 13 - in the state of Texas he can decide at age 13. After going thru everything we worked things out and he ended up not going to his father's as he didn't want to lose his friends, change schools, etc. So he decided things were not so bad at home after all.

Good Luck

Sharon, this is not as easy to respond to as there could be a number of deciding factors. I am from a broken home. If she is showing signs of being sexually active and dad is unaware of her having a temper or sheer disobedient behavior (or self-disrespect), I'd say don't do it. You know better than he the consequences for females demonstrating destructive behavior. If she is a good girl who just has issues with "step-dad" ...well if natural dad is stern enough to keep a good handle on her behavior and attentive to her choice of friends and activities, then give it a try. There could be the issue of her relationship with you. Does she feel her relationship changed with you because of your new husband? She may feel she gets less out of you for herself. If this is the issue, I'd fix it right away. You don't want to send the message that you walk away when you can't communicate effectively or things don't go your way. Because she is 15, in a case like such, I'd find a common ground. Be open to allowing your natural children to express their feelings openly with you. Neither you nor your husband should be sensitive to their expressions. Teens may start off sounding hurtful when opening the communication barrier, but listening and applying a proposal to make it better and following up on family talks often would help them to see you and your husband as stable, listening, caring and send the message that hey! THIS IS gonna work! If you take time out with your kids outside of the extended family, make one ground rule clear: We're not talking about anyone who is not present. This is special time for us. Discuss school, their friendships, peer pressure, activities, etc. Don't leave this door shut or their peers (same age!) will become their source of advice. I don't know, but she may be an all and out good girl who desires to spend her final years growing up at dad's. The request is rare when a girl has the healthy relationship with her mother that she should. Hope this helps.

Unfortunately at the age of 13yrs. children have the right to decide which parent they want to reside with!

I am so sorry...I am sure this is breaking your heart. In TX she can sign a statement at the age of 12 declaring who she wants to live with. It is given wait in a custody trial, but everything will be considered. If her father has been an absent parent there is a good chance the judge will leave her with you. If he has been an active parent, but her reason is to get 'even' or she got in trouble....she will most likely stay with you. If she just truly wants to live with her dad the judge may let her depending on her reasoning. I would really try talking to her and asking her why she wants to live with her dad. I would also take her to a counselor, because they can help her & help in event you end up in court. I will keep you in my prayers.

God bless,

You can let her decide when she's 18! You are the parent not the otherway around. Start working on whatever is lacking in your relationship with your daughter and enlist your female relatives and close friends to help you.

Figure out why she wants to move out and live with her father. Ask her what problems she is having with your present husband and his children. Ask her if she is being harrassed by your husband and in what manner.

HEAL your relationship. I can't say that strongly enough. Only you can teach her how to be a real woman. Set aside some nightly mother-daughter time where the two of you can speak intimately and genuinely. It's a useful mother-daughter ritual. Mother' day is coming up soon, how about the two of you do something together, perhaps even a day trip. Do not resort to buying her things as a bribe to stay.

Peace ~ Love ~ Sisterhood,

A co-worker of mine just had her step-son come to live with her and her husband. They were told by their lawyer that at age 12 he can choose who he lives with.

Hi Sharon,
Guess what? I use to be that 14 year old daughter that wanted to go and live with dad! Well, I am 46 years old today and reflecting back upon those years, I realized that this decision (in which my mom finally said, ok) was one of the greatest stepping stones of my coming-of-age life!
You see, Up until that time, I only "heard" my mother's view about my father and the way things were (according to her). Even though my mother's words prooved to be right, there is always that little "something" that makes a person want to know it for themselves. I needed to know it "for myself" to see what kind of heart my own father had for me. If I could not have learned it at the age of 14, it would have nagged away at me until I could.
Eventually, that opportunity would've had to have taken place! It is your daughter's own right (just like it was for me). It is a "win-win" situation because either your daughter and her father will enhance a more positive relationship while she's becoming a young lady, or the two of them will discover together that "staying with mom" is the best thing without your help to proove this point!
I was grateful for this step particularly when it came to relating to "the guy world" in general. Guys know how to read "guys" and my father was extremely useful when it came to my first dating experiences as my highschool years progressed. Even in times that I didn't like, I am so grateful that my dad was there to teach me certain positive things that are best taught from a male role-model.
Don't be afraid to give your own daughter this chance of opportunity.
D. H.

I noticed that one reply was very similar to the one I'm about to give you, but I recently went through this myself. In Texas, the age is 12, but a judge is not bound by what the child says. In my case, my oldest wanted to live with his father, but he has developemental issues. After talking to my child, the judge decided he was better off with me. My son still keeps telling me that he wants to live with his father, but because of the type of person his father is, I refuse to give my son up til I no longer have a choice. In my case, I have positive character witnesses for myself and negative for my ex.

Don't know if this will help, but good luck.

R. C.

Hi Sharon,
I believe in the state of Texas, children can decide at the age of 12 who they want to live with.

I too have a 15yr old. She disided that she wanted to go and live with her grandparents (my mother and step dad,(her real father is not in the picture)). After thinking about it, for a while I allowed her to go. Thinking that she would resent me if I didnt. However now she resents me that I did. Teenage yrs are very hard to deal with, I just tried to remember what I felt like at 15, and how I would have wanted to be treated.
WOW I am sorry that I dont have anymore to say about it. but only you can make the desion that would be best in your situation. I am happy, and so is my daughter. so I think that our seperation, weather it be temp or perminate, was the best thing for the both of us.
when i was younger i went to live with my dad and step mom. I felt very rejected by my mother, however as time passed i became to accept things the way that they were. I moved back to my mothers a yr later. Now as a adult I am very glad for the time that i got to know how both sides of my parents day in and day out.
the only advise that i could give, would be to try it on a temp basis (1yr) and see how it goes, and try to do so with no hard feelings.

The legal court age is 12yrs old,where a judge will listen to her and what she wants and where to live

best of luck

FYI... she had been of age for some time now to make the decision. However, I would find out the reason she wants to live with her father. Maybe she feels that she is not getting enough attention, feelings of being unwanted, feeling that she is a baby sitter for her 15mo old sibling. There can be so many underlying factors that can contribute to her wanting to live with her dad.

Don't be upset with her for the decision that she had made, just find out why she wants to live with her father now. Reassure her that you will always love her, but she is growing up and no longer a baby.


I can only advise through my own experiance as a child and with a Legal background. In Texas the usual age that a child can decide on their own is 12, (in most but not all cases of course.)

Also, my parents divorced when I was 7 and a long and traumitizing custody battle over me took place. My Father won even though I wanted to live with my Mom. I didn't get to go live with my Mom until I was 15 and it was all very painful. If your Ex is a good father I would consider letting her try it. She needs to feel that her wishes are respected and that she is loved equally by both parents. Maybe a trial run where she had a couple months to change her mind could be suggested to her. I hope this helps.

I know that in New York the age is 13. I can't speak for Texas, but it is most likely around the same. She cannot, however, decide who has custody of her unless the issue is taken to court.

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