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I’m 13 years old and living with my stepmom and dad.

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  • I’m 13 years old and living with my stepmom and dad.

    Recently they have been arguing and I’m afraid they may soon divorce. I want to know what rights I have, and how much say I get in who I get to live with. My dad is temperamental and stepmom loving and understanding. Previously I have lived with solely my dad and it wasn’t the most enjoyable experience (no abuse or neglect, just a lot of bad influence as a parent). I want to live with my stepmom (who has no legal rights or custody of me) but she is a much better parent. I want to know how much of a say I get in this, and to what extent to I have to listen to my dad.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you’ve been going through such a tough time, but we are here to support you and help you in any way we can. That sounds really stressful to feel that your dad and stepmom may divorce.

    We’re not legal experts here, so we can’t say for sure what would happen if your dad and stepmom separated. If your dad is your legal guardian, he would most likely have custody and say in where you live. But if your dad is your legal guardian, and he said it was ok to live with someone else, you would most likely be able to do that. We have legal aid resources if you’d like to get more specific information about laws in your state.
    If you haven’t already, you could consider reaching out to a trusted adult, relative, worker/teacher/counselor at your school for help and support. If you haven’t, you could also consider talking to your dad and stepmom about how you’ve been feeling, or having someone else help you talk to them. You could consider telling them about your preferences to live with your stepmom.

    There are also many resources that could help you work through conflict at home, get more information about the law, or help you with anything else you may need. If you want to talk more about what’s been going on, or if you would like more information about resources, you can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or chat with us online.

    Again, thank you or contacting us. It sounds like you’ve been going through a really hard time, but you’ve shown a lot of strength by working through these challenges and reaching out for help. If you ever need anything in the future, please feel free to call us or chat with us online. We’re always here to listen and here to help.

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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