Alabaster, AL asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Alabama

Q: AL child custody laws

My ex and I have split custody now- 50/50, week on week off. Due to week changes to fit his entertainment schedule and sending numerous threats about their “punishment” for not going to his house on his time, both of my kids (17 and 14) are refusing to go to his house, I’ve had them for 3 weeks. Just got an email from him that states the kids can’t make that decision on where to live until 19. I’m hearing conflicting info that once kids are 14, they can choose which parent to live with. I have hired an atty but I can’t get in to see him until 11/7, unless he has a cancellation. I know I’ll have to take him to court to change custody but until then do I have to force the kids to go to his house?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kristine Jones
Kristine Jones
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Montgomery, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: Hello. There is misinformation floating around regarding children and the age when children can "choose" who to live with. Children do not get to choose who they want to live with until they are no longer children, which is 19 in Alabama. That being said, the older a child is the more weight their opinion carries in custody determinations in front of a judge. So you have that going for you. Other considerations would be your violation/contempt of not following the current order that's in place because rightly or wrongly the kids have had a change of heart about dad. It's rare that police will force older children to go with a parent when they are adamant to police about not going; however, police can still be called and reports made. Best of luck!

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