How Can Residential Custody Be Changed If My Child Wants to Live With Me?

Modifying Residential Custody

A residential custody determination can significantly impact a child’s life. Who they will live with most of the time is an important decision in any divorce or separation case. Sometimes, a child will have a clear spoken preference for the parent with whom they wish to live. You should take your child’s preferences seriously, but know that they may not affect the outcome of the case.

If you are not the primary custodial parent, you may be able to modify the custody order to reflect your child’s wishes to live with you. Doing so may be a challenge, so here is some information to give you a basic idea of how custody is determined and when it can change.

There are many factors the court considers when determining custody. The court will consider which parent is best able to meet the needs of the child when deciding on custody. The court will pay particular attention to factors such the relationship between the child and parent and the ability of each parent to provide for the child.

If you child has a clear preference to live with you, you may be able to seek a custody modification. Modifications can be made at any point if the existing custody order is no longer in the best interests of the child. A child’s preference may be considered if he or she is old or mature enough to make a thoughtful decision. Many consider 14 years of age to be old enough to make such a decision, but there are no strict guidelines on this. Though some judges may consider a child’s wishes, not all will. And, even if a child’s wishes are considered, they may not be the deciding factor.

Meeting the Child’s Needs

Any custody decision the court makes will be based on meeting the child’s needs and protecting his or her best interests. If the child’s preferred residence would not be in his or her best interests, it will not be a deciding factor. Consult with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney if you want to modify residential custody. You will benefit from securing the assistance of an attorney to demonstrate to the court that the custody arrangement your child prefers is indeed in his or her best interests. An attorney can help you navigate the custody action process while keeping your child’s wishes in mind.


Do you have questions about residential custody? Williams Law Group, LLC has the experience and skills needed to help you protect your child’s interests and your rights in any custody action. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.


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