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In the state of Missouri at what age can a child decide ...

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In the state of Missouri at what age can a child decide which one of her divorced parents she prefers to live with?Her mother is re-married, has been estranged from her husband for a year due to a drug problem (his) amoung other things, and has had 4 different addresses. The child prefers to live with her father, who is steadily employed and has a house, the children go to school in the fathers school disterect of Webster Groves Mo. The mother has announced that they will be moving back in with her husband. The daughter (13) does not want this, neither does the father.

Dear XXXXX2711, thankyou for your question.

The state of Missouri does not allow a child to "choose" which parent to live with however they will hear her reasons for moving to your home as well as your reasons.

I believe you will be successful in obtaining custody if you make that your goal,you've most likely got a lot in your favor (like good parenting choices)

When the focus is on what you can offer her and what she feels she needs then it's not a case of "make mom look bad,"

Mom's already done that from what you said. The judge will review the points you have showing your daughter is at risk.

Instead it's just a case of "look what good we can do for her". a judge can respect an honest attitude that is backed up by proof of love and involvement with this child.

The court will also look carefully at BOTH SIDES living conditions and the best of interest of the child.

For instance,are you the one to take her to the dr.when she needs one?

Even though you pay child support were you sure to get your daughter anything the mom couldn't afford? Did you take her shopping?

These things count for love that matters as opposed to believing a child support payment covers all including rent,etc.with a mom who is in a roller coaster part of her life.

Being your children's advocate proves you're the one who's watching out for the older and younger children. You can't buy that.

Are you the one who attends school conferences,do you take an interest in her life?

Do you attend church with her if she goes to youth group during the week,any extra activities that show committment to the child can help.

In otherwords do you know her school and life outside her school because you are a dad who loves her and have the welfare of the child as your main concern. Enough to be really involved?

From the sounds of the facts in this case it does seem you have a very good chance of obtaining custody since Mom's priorities are clearly not in the best interest of the child according to what you mentioned.

You definitely have the right not to want your child at risk anymore.

Judges usually don't mess around when one of the parents is allowing someone in the household who is a convicted drug user. Children are far to important to risk that type of arrangement !

The following websites will give you alot of important information including a link to "emergency" custody should that arise.

By the way,if you've not checked the places your daughter is being moved to you may want at this link to know if she's at more risk than you though. Don't forget to do a search on your own neighborhood too.

Awareness saves lives!



Let me know if you've any questions?

Otherwise just click "Accept" and leave a positive feedback please as I will for you.

God bless you in your endeavor to give your child a stable life !


p.s. If I were you I'd find a lawyer who would take payments,this situation seems to only repeat itself and your daughter seems to need to be rescued by you. Many lawyers will see you for free consultation,at least get that done as soon as you can so the paperwork can start this week! Time may be of the essence.

Don and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you