Can My Child Choose Where He or She Wants to Live?


One of the most popular myths regarding Pasadena divorce is that children will be allowed to choose who they want to live with after the divorce and whether or not they wish to visit the noncustodial parent.

Although children are allowed to voice their views to the court, the judge's decision is not necessarily based on what the child wants. Judges know that children don't always make decisions that are in their best interests. If left to their own devices, children might choose to eat ice cream and cotton candy for dinner or skip school to spend the day at home playing video games. Because of their age and inexperience, children can't always be trusted to make wise choices.

When a child has divorced parents, he or she will often want to live with the more permissive parent. This might be the parent who doesn't enforce a strict bedtime or the one who overlooks a bad grade on an important homework assignment. Parents who buy expensive gifts for their children to compensate for the guilt they feel from the divorce also tend to be favored in the eyes of the children receiving the goodies.

Parental alienation can sometimes be a factor. When one parent is constantly badmouthing the other, a child might pick up on this hostility and feel reluctant to spend time with the victimized parent. Parental alienation can be so powerful that it can drive children to pull away from a parent with whom they had enjoyed a strong relationship prior to the divorce.

The court's job is to determine who will best serve the physical, academic, emotional, financial and psychological needs of the child. The child's wishes will be taken into consideration, but they will by no means be the only factor in determining custody and visitation arrangements.

How Can We Help?

If you are a parent who is seeking a Pasadena divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our team of experienced Pasadena divorce attorneys are eager to advocate for the best interests of both you and your child.