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What if your teen wants to live with your ex?

Living with a teenager is never dull. While it may seem like your child is flitting from one thing to the next, including emotions, he or she is likely searching for a unique identity. You may be seeing your son or daughter exploring interests that are vastly different from yours and developing strong opinions.

Your child may have recently expressed a new desire - the wish to live with your ex-spouse. Depending how long you and your spouse have been divorced, you may have fallen into a comfortable custody arrangement with you maintaining the majority of the parenting time and your spouse receiving visitation rights. Suddenly, however, this arrangement does not work for your teen. This is a common occurrence for Texas families.

How to handle the question

The announcement that your teen wants to move to the other parent's house may have come as a shock, or you may have felt your child's discomfort in your home for some time. Whether you have been battling with your teen or they simply want a new perspective, the way you handle the situation can make a difference in your relationship as your teen moves into adulthood. Family advocates recommend the following:

  • Do not respond with a "yes" or "no" decision until you have time to discuss the matter with everyone involved.
  • Calmly ask your child to explain the reasons for wanting to move and listen without interrupting or arguing.
  • Take the request seriously and let your child know you are giving it careful thought.
  • Speak respectfully to your child and insist that he or she offer you the same respect throughout the conversation.
  • Be prepared for emotional outbursts from your child and redirect the conversation with your own calm demeanor.
  • Be willing to see the situation through your child's eyes. Don't take it personally.
  • Include your ex in the conversation if this is possible.

It is critical that you avoid speaking negatively about your former spouse unless you feel the move would be unsafe for your teen. You may wish to seek advice about your options from a trusted counselor who can guide you in making a prudent decision. You would also benefit from gaining an understanding of your legal rights by reaching out to an experienced Board-certified family law expert attorney in Collin County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas.

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