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  • Can a child ask to change custody?

Can a child ask to change custody?

The court may award custody to one parent and not the other, but the court's main goal in all custody situations is to make sure that the child is safe, healthy and happy. With that in mind, can a child ask for changes to be made in the agreement? For example, can a child who is living with his or her mother ask to live with his or her father?

The short answer is that yes, a child can make this type of request. In fact, at the time when custody is first established, the court may even ask the child if he or she has a preference.

Naturally, young children may not have a preference or may be too young to express it. This means desires can change over time, and children can then ask for these changes to be made.

It is important to note that parents aren't allowed to bribe children to get them to ask for changes, and they also can't coach them on what to do or say. The request honestly has to come from the child, not through the child but from the parent.

For example, one man wanted to get custody of his son, a teenager, and gave him a string of gifts that included a shotgun, two televisions, a minibike, a phone and even a horse. This was considered to be bribery and the father did not get custody of the son.

As you move through a custody case in Maryland, whether it's at the time of a divorce or later on in life, be sure you know all of your legal rights, and your child's rights.

Source: American Bar Association, "What if the child wants to live with the other parent?," accessed Jan. 14, 2016

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