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Kids   »   Can I decide where I want to live? 💪

Can I decide where I want to live? 💪

Hey there! 👋🏽

As a child, you have the right to express your feelings, and adults need to listen and understand why you feel the way you do. When they make decisions about things that affect you, they must take your opinion into account (if you want to express it), even if it doesn’t always end up the way you want. Below, you can read more about how decisions about living arrangements should be made and the responsibilities that fall on adults.

Here, you’ll learn more about what you can decide when your parents separate.

What can you decide?

  • As a child, you have a legal right to share how you feel and how you would like things to be. Your parents must listen to what you think and consider your opinions when they decide on your living arrangements. If you don’t want or can’t say how you want to live or how you want things to be, that’s okay too. You don’t have to say a word if you feel like you can’t or don’t want to say anything.
  • Your parents have a responsibility to ensure that you’re as happy as possible. This includes not making you choose between them. Parents should also help their children have the best possible relationship with both of them (if both parents are kind and can take care of their child).
  • You have the right to meet and love all of your parents, even if they choose to live in different places. Parents shouldn’t speak ill of each other. Speaking badly affects children, and children shouldn’t have to listen to it. If it happens, try to speak up or talk to another adult for help.
  • Parents don’t have their own rights to see you equally. What’s best for you is the most important factor when parents decide where you should live, which school you should attend, and how often you should see the parent you don’t live with.

When can I decide where I want to live?

Sometimes you hear adults say that children must be 12 years old to decide for themselves where they want to live. That’s not entirely true. You always have the right to express your opinion about where you prefer to live. There’s no specific age in the law for when children can decide for themselves, but from the age of twelve, a child’s own opinions become increasingly important. Parents have different opinions, and some let their children decide even before they turn 12. There are also parents who don’t let their children decide until they’re 15 years old or older. However, all parents are obligated to make decisions that ensure you’re as happy as possible and can see all of your parents.

Elisabeth Scholander