My Teen Wants to Live With My Ex Full-Time: What Can I Do?

Parents in Georgia may encounter various acts of rebellion in their teens. After a particularly bad argument, your teen might inform you that they want to live full-time with your ex. You might feel unsure about this arrangement, and perhaps you are considering whether or not to push back in court. Is your teen free to live with whomever they choose? Can you fight to keep hold of your teen in Georgia family courts?

Children Aged 18 or Older Can Live Wherever They Want

First of all, it is important to understand that if your child is at least 18, they do not need permission to leave your home. They are legal adults, and they are free to live with whomever they wish. No legal process is necessary to transfer custody, and your adult child can move into your ex’s home without any issues whatsoever. However, you can still do your best to convince them to reconsider – as long as you do not coerce, pressure, or manipulate them in any way. 

Young Teens Can Express Custody Preferences in Georgia

While many states never require judges to consider the custody preferences of children, Georgia family courts must respect their wishes. In fact, children as young as 11 can have their preferences heard in court. When they reach the age of 14, however, judges begin to listen to their preferences very carefully. 

At age 14, a child has a legal right to choose where they live. Unless a judge can come up with a good reason as to why these preferences should not be respected, the child’s decision carries authority in court. Specifically, they consider whether their preference goes against their own best interests. 

Convincing Family Courts that Your Teen’s Preferences Should Not Be Respected

If you wish to prevent your teen from choosing to live alongside your ex full-time, you must attempt to show that this would go against their own best interests. You can utilize various strategies when pursuing this goal. You might show that your ex is unreliable as a parent – perhaps due to substance abuse, past instances of violence, work commitments, financial instability, and so on. 

You might also show that it makes more sense for your child to stay with you for purely logistical reasons. For example, the child’s school might be far from your ex’s home. The child may also have athletic or artistic commitments in a local community center located close to your own home. 

Find an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Georgia

If you have been searching for an experienced child custody attorney in Georgia, look no further than Lankford & Moore Law. We know that custody issues regarding teens can be particularly challenging, and we are here to guide your family toward a positive outcome. While teens may have the right to express their preferences regarding custody, there is no guarantee that these preferences are in their own best interests. Book a consultation today to get started with an action plan. 


I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder. The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby — not even money, certainly not my soul.

Mahatma Gandhi

Lankford & Moore Law in Downtown Lawrenceville

Join Our Satisfied Clients

Copyright © 2022 Lankford & Moore Law
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only and the use thereof does not create an attorney-client relationship. The choice of an attorney is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

Your Problem Is Almost Solved!

Conquering Your Legal Problem... 90%