Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law
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Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law

As a business owner, keeping informed about the finer points of employment law is important. If you're getting ready to hire your first employees, you need to be sure that you understand exactly what you can and cannot do. Don't risk getting yourself into legal trouble by asking the wrong question at the interview or making an off-hand comment that's considered legally unacceptable. I created this site to give you the basics of employment law expectations. I hope that the information here helps you to understand what you should and shouldn't do as you're interviewing and hiring your first staff members.

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Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law

Can My Teenager Choose Which Parent Gets Custody?

Irene Robertson

The simple answer is yes. Your teenager does have the right to request which parent gains custody over them, but you need to know more than the short answer to this question.

There are many factors to take into consideration when the decision of who gets custody of a child within a divorce arises. If the child is a teen, their wishes are generally given great weight in the judge's eyes.

How Can My Teen Choose?

The idea that your teen, who is not yet considered a legal adult, can choose which parent to live with can be daunting. But it's also unnerving for them because they will have to state their wishes, putting them in the spotlight.

They can appear at a hearing for the custody case and verbally state which parent they choose (or want) to live with. If you want your teen to choose you and know they have, you can pursue this step. However, psychologists and judges do not recommend it because it can be potentially damaging to your teen's psychological health.

Instead of putting your child in the spotlight, you can opt to have a written statement made by them presented in court. The statement needs to be brief, concise, and state the child's preference with their reason. Your teen will need to sign the statement. 

What Can Go Wrong?

Since your child is a teen, their preference will be given great consideration. In most cases, a judge will rule in favor of their wishes. However, there are scenarios in which a judge cannot rule in favor of the teen's request. Should the court suspect pressuring on either parents' part or coercion, the situation becomes severely complicated.

State laws are also taken into consideration during custody battles. If a law within your state trumps your teen's wishes, no statement or preference will overturn the proceedings outcome.

Some states require the statement made by your teen to be notarized before it is admissible in a court of law. Failure to do so would make the statement irrelevant. Be sure to review the laws in your state and discuss your teen's preference with an attorney (such as one from http://www.glfamilylaw.com) for pointed legal advice.

Ultimately, a teenager can choose which parent they feel is best for them. In some cases, custody can be reassigned based on their preference once a teen turns a certain age. It is crucial that any parent figure involved stay unbiased in their teenager's decision. 


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