Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Missouri

Q: Can my 17 year old daughter choose which parent she wants to live with?

My daughter will be 18 in about 6 months. She has always been unhappy living with her mom. She is depressed all the time. Can she choose to come and live with me or do I have to take her mom to court?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kristen Thurmond
Kristen Thurmond
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: There is no clear answer to this as it is heavily dependent on the court that issued the original order. Some courts are particular about it and others tend to think forcing a 17 yr old to do anything is pointless. Unfortunately, the best thing to do is talk with the other parent. But be realistic about what living with you will entail. Will the 17 yr old finish school with her friends? Is she upset because mom is enforcing rules she doesn't like but needs that you will likely enforce too? The court is not going to look favorably on not abiding by its orders and a parent letting the minor manipulate the situation.

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