Ask Sam letter


To Sam

i dont want to live with either parent!

my parents are splitting up and told me to think about who i wanted to live with , but the problem is i dont want to live with either parent i want to liev on my own or with my boyfriend. im 17 so i dont know if having a place of my won if possible?
im confused and worried
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for writing to me about what is going on for you. It sounds like things are tough for you with your parents splitting up and you not being sure where you are going to live.

From what you’ve said, your parents have asked you to make your own choice about who you’d like to live with. I can hear that that is a difficult choice to make and that actually you’d rather not live with either of them. 

You tell me that you would like to live on your own or with your boyfriend and ask me if that is possible. At 17 you can probably leave home without permission from your parents however, if there were concerns around your safety, your parents may be able ask the police to bring you home until your turn 18, when the law says that you can definitely leave home without their permission.

It is always best in these circumstances if you can reach an agreement that you all feel happy about. Perhaps you could think about talking to your parents about your wishes and try and agree a way forward. It can sometimes be helpful to have a trusted adult, such as a grandparent or close family friend with you when you do this for support. You might find some useful information on the divorce and separation page in Explore or on the Message boards. Divorce Aid and CAFCASS are also good places to find out more about what happens when parents separate.

Before deciding to move out, it’s also very important to think carefully about where you would be able to live. Renting privately can be more difficult if you are 16 or 17, as by law, you are not allowed to hold a tenancy by yourself until the age of 18. Living with friends or applying for a place in a foyer or supported lodging scheme are some other alternatives. The laws around housing are complicated, and aren’t completely the same across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I’d really recommend getting some expert advice for your specific situation before making any decisions. You could contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Shelter, a housing charity, for further advice about your housing options. 

You’d be very welcome to talk through your worries with a ChildLine counsellor. The counsellors can be contacted by calling 0800 1111 or by logging on for a 1-2-1 chat via the website. Talking to a counsellor will give you space to explore what is going on, how you feel and what your options are.

Take care and good luck,


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