What Not To Do When Sorting Out Child Custody Concerns
When couples with children decide on divorce, one of the most difficult decisions that has to be made is who the children will live with. Regardless of whether the divorce is amicable or not, child custody concerns can cause significant issues. While there is no easy road-map to navigate this issue, there are some things you can avoid that will make the process easier for both you and your ex as well as your children, which is most important.
Don't Force Your Child to Make the Decision
It's best to not ask your child to make the decision as to which parent they will live with. This places a significant emotional load on your child that will likely follow them well into their adult years. For example, a child that chooses their mother may experience hurt and regret if they have any sense that their father is hurt by their decision. In this instance, this might also cause the child to struggle with fears that they aren't being loyal to their father.
While it's important that you get your child's input, this should just be one of many factors that are used to make the decision. Never make your child feel like they are making the choice solely on their own. It's also important to allow your child to sit out of the conversation if they want. If your child expresses that they aren't comfortable offering input on which parent they want to live with, don't force them to give you an answer.
Don't Forget the Future
It's also important that you and your ex are looking beyond your child's current needs. When deciding who your child should live with primarily, it's important that you not forget the future and how your child's needs may shift over time. Imagine a child that is currently in junior high. If the child has always dreamed of playing at the varsity level at the specific high school in their father's neighborhood, it's important to remember that.
Having the child stay with their mother now might seem okay, but in the long-term, it's not the best choice. In this case, logically, it would make more sense for the child to stay with their father and make the transition from junior high to the high school of their choice. Looking ahead towards the future keeps your child's best interest at heart.
Deciding on child custody terms will likely be one of the most difficult decisions you and your partner make as parents. Make certain that you two are approaching this topic from a non-emotional stance, but instead keeping the needs of your child at the forefront. It's also wise to take the advice and assistance of child custody lawyers during this time.