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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32327
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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My wife and I have recently seperated. My stepdaughter, 16

Customer Question

Hello, my wife and I have recently seperated. My stepdaughter, 16 years old (17 in August ), wants to remain living me. We live in Michigan and my understanding is that at 17, her mother would not leagally be able to stop her from living wherever she chooses. Is that true and what are the options and / or ramifications if she refuses to go with her mother prior to her birthday? She has been and currently lives with me with her mothers consent. Her mother is moving to a new place soon and wants her daughter to come with. Same town so location isn't the issue. The daughter's basic needs would be meet with either of us. No issues of safety, inadequate care or anything of that nature.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 5 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

No, that's not quite true that a child at 17 can live wherever they want. They are still not an adult and can be ordered to live at a certain place by a judge although the judges usually follow the child's wishes at that age,

One is that you would have if the mother refuses to let her live with you is that since you are not a blood relative then the court could find that you do not have "standing" to bring a case or seek custody. Standing is just the "legal right" to be involved in a case. There are some ways around this but just remember that it could be an issue.

As far as the ramifications, the mother could ask he court to issue an order of attachment directing the sheriff to go and pick up the child and bring her to the mother's house. I don't know that the judge would do that in this case but it is the correct remedy.

What I'd suggest you do is go ahead and get your lawyer and discuss what your local judge is probably going to do. That will give you an idea on what direction you should go in.