Involving Your Child in Custody Decisions: Is it Wise?

Divorce involves making some tough decisions when it comes to belongings, debt, support, and most of all, issues that affect minor children. Child custody issues can be among the most contentious of all in a divorce and it's easy to see why. Nothing tugs at the heartstrings like the prospect of not being able to spend time with your child. That is the thought behind parenting plans. Some parents consider involving their child when creating a parenting plan so read on so you can make a well-considered decision.

Parenting Plans in General

The catch-all term above refers to child custody, visitation, and child support issues. Parents are encouraged to create their own parenting plan based on the fact that they know what is best for their child. If you can work together to do so, it will save both parties' money, time, and can take care of a major issue away from the courtroom. As long as the custody and visitation plan you come up with seems fair and both parties agree, the judge is likely to approve it. As for child support, the amount owed is based on state medians and the parent's income. Speak to your divorce lawyer to ensure that the provisions are legal and fair.

What to Know About Involving a Child in a Custody Decision

If your child is old enough to have an opinion about custody, you might consider allowing them to have their say. You may want to talk to your child custody lawyer for counsel. Tread carefully, however. When it comes to older children and teenagers, taking their thoughts and wishes into consideration might be warranted. What parents want to avoid is forcing the child to make a custody decision. Children should not be expected to make adult decisions that will impact them for years to come. Instead, talk with them about what the future holds and how they envision it when it comes to spending time with each parent.

Making Changes to the Custody Agreement

What might have been working fine up to a point could need tweaking. Things can change as time passes. Parents can remarry, move away (or want to move away), and the child may now be old enough to drive to wherever they want. Custody changes are possible using a court order and it's pretty simple if both parents agree on the changes. Here are a few things to watch out for before changing the plan:

  • Be sure that the motivation has nothing to do with which parent is less strict.
  • Even if the child is older, they still need a responsible parent in charge and perhaps even more so as they approach adulthood.
  • If the child is asking for a change, be sure that they understand it's a long-term change. Court filings and legal fees can be expensive and teenagers can be moody at times.

Speak with a divorce lawyer to learn more about the wisdom of allowing a child to influence custody.