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Category: Family Law
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Can a 17 year old choose to live with his grandparents instead

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Can a 17 year old choose to live with his grandparents instead of his mother?

[Background information: Pertains to law in the State of North Carolina. The father is deceased. The mother plans to move out of state to live with her boyfriend. The 17 year old son wants to remain in NC where he grew up and where all of his friends and other family are. He wants to finish high school in NC and live with his grandparents. The grandparents are agreeable to this.]
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good afternoon. Would you mind sharing with me where the mother stands with this issue?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The mother (who is my daughter) originally promised the boy that he would not have to move if he chose not to, and that he could live with my wife and me. She subsequently changed her mind. Her main reason for changing her mind seems to be that she is worried that years down the road, he will harbor anger towards her for "abandoning him" and "breaking up the family." There are two other siblings involved -- his 9 year old and 12 year old sisters. They seem to be ok with moving; however, the 17 year old boy does not want to move.


While my wife and I certainly see the logic of not breaking up the family, we side with the boy in terms of the overall picture. Our daughter is aware of our position on the matter.

Thank you for the additional information. In North Carolina, once a child has reached an age where they have the mental capacity to comprehend and offer a reasoned opinion on the subject, their preference is entitled to considerable weight by the court. This can be obtained through testifying in court, or by talking to the judge in the judge’s chambers. As the child gets older, more weight is given, though it is entirely within the judge’s discretion as to how much. The first concern is always what the judge feels is in the best interest of the child. As such, this is not a situation where he can just demand to stay and live with you. If the mother is unwilling to cooperate and allow it, you would need to proceed through the court to obtain relief. Based upon what you described above, I think the Judge would likely side with the mother in this situation and require the child relocate with her.

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