Can't my kids choose where they want to live?
You may have heard that children in Michigan of a certain age can decide where they live. This is a fairly common misconception. Children are subject to the terms of Custody and Parenting Time Orders until they reach adulthood (age of 18 in Michigan).
However, one of the best interest factors (1 of 12 factors Michigan Courts use to determine Custody and Parenting time) is “The reasonable preference of the child, if the judge considers the child to be old enough to express a preference.” The judge can decide whether a child is old enough to state a preference, but even if a Judge decides its worthwhile to hear the preference of the child, the child’s preference is not dispositive. The other 11 best interest factors will still be taken into consideration.
One of the other 11 factors is “The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.” Parents are expected to encourage a close relationship between their children and their co-parenting partner. So, unless you are taking reasonable action to protect you children from abuse or neglect, you should do your best to ensure your children are following the parenting time schedule in your court order.