When you go into a child custody battle, you may think that it’s you against your spouse; you want the child to live with you, while your spouse wants the child to live with him or her. You are prepared to fight for your rights as a parent, and you’re probably thinking about ways to show that you would provide a better home than your spouse-who will soon be your ex.
While it’s understandable to think of it this way, many experts agree that this ignores the most important person in the discussion: the child. They say that it’s actually best for children to decide where they are going to live on their own.
Naturally, this applies to children who are older, typically over the age of 10. Younger children may have opinions as well, but older children are typically more picky about where they live and should have some say in the matter. Reasons that kids start to care more as they grow up include:
— The children get involved with more active social lives, so where they live is more important to them.– Children begin to self-identify more as adults than children.– Kids start making other decisions and want to have control over their lives.– When forced into a situation that they don’t like, children will often act out.
Now, parents still have a right to see their children, but this shows that it’s important for three people-both parents and the child-to start making decisions about living arrangements. As you go through this process, make sure you know what legal options you have in Florida.
Source: Psychology Today, “Divorced Parents: Kids Should Decide Where They Live/Custody,” Seth Meyers, Psy.D, accessed April 08, 2016