If your ex-spouse has become a more active and involved parent or if the living situation in your home has degraded to being unsafe for your child, it is possible that your ex might be able petition for a custody modification.
It is prudent to add, that if the case does go before a court, your teenager ‘s input can be weighed heavily in the final decision.
What do you do if they want to move?
If you have sole custody of your child, you have control of the situation (even though it might not feel like it).
The decision as to whether you want to allow your child to change residences will ultimately be yours.
The exception to this would be if there has been a significant change in your situation since the parenting plan was agreed upon. Changes such as one parent losing a job, facing a dramatic increase or decrease in income, or an altered work schedule are all common reasons.
Relocation or a parent remarrying or having children with a new spouse often represents a change in circumstances. If the custodial parent shows a pattern of irresponsibility, a judge may also account for that.
How to React When They Want to Move
Understand why your teen wants to move
Understanding the root of your teenager’s desire to move can be helpful in assessing how drastic of measures need to be taken.
For example, if the child wants to relocate because they feel like they aren’t getting enough time with the non-custodial parent, it is possible that the solution would be to facilitate more visitation.
This increase in contact might be enough to satisfy your teenager and eliminate the need for uprooting your child’s life through the moving process.
It is imperative that you let your teen have the time and space to honestly express why they want to move. As a parent, you are probably feeling hurt that your child is asking to move away from you. While it is normal to feel this way, expressing that hurt to your child can impair their ability to honestly communicate their needs.
Based on the reasons your child has outlined for wanting to move, devise a plan that addresses their concerns and still maintains their safety and wellbeing.
For teenagers needing freedom and wanting to explore new experiences, a temporary arrangement of living with the other parent can be beneficial. Often times when children are allowed to explore the grass on the other side of the fence, they find that it isn’t greener after all.
Involve your ex
Depending on the relationship that you have with your ex, discussing the potential move with them can be helpful. It will protect your child from unnecessary embarrassment if your ex doesn’t want to modify the living situation.
It is not uncommon for teenagers to want to move in with the other parent, only to find out that the non-residential parent doesn’t really want the child to move in.
Having a teenager that wants to move in with the other parent can be difficult and painful. Remember, as the parent, it is imperative that your priority remains keeping your child safe. This can mean making tough decisions that might not be popular with your offspring but are necessary to protect them from an unsafe situation.
Related Reading: What If Yours Kids Hate Living With Your Ex?