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Should my children help decide our child custody arrangements?

If you are talking and asking questions about child custody, then you already know that all divorce proceedings affect children. If you are like so many other parents of Connecticut, then you want to minimize the anxiety your children may feel about divorce and child custody. Giving them a voice is one way to accomplish this, but it is important to make sure they can handle this responsibility.

Many experts agree that getting input from your children regarding child custody matters may be helpful to them. At the same time, you will still need to be cautious about how you use the input. For example, it might not be the best idea to let your children heavily influence final child custody decisions. Regardless of what your kids say they want, a court must still ensure that the best needs of the children lie at the heart of these decisions.

Very young children are probably not ready to make decisions about child custody. However, a teenager may have some valuable insight to offer you and your spouse. The overall maturity level of your children is also a factor to consider, especially when the maturity level conflicts with chronological age.

Other factors you might consider include the quality of child/parent relationships and the temperament of your children. For instance, if one or both parent's relationship with a child is full of conflict, the child may not be able to offer completely rational input. In another example, if your child has limited coping skills and is showing difficulty in adjusting to the divorce, you should probably take a good, hard look at the child's input.

If you are undecided about how much of a voice your children should have about child custody matters, consider seeking professional advice. Your lawyer can provide you with resources to help your family in this difficult time,

Source: Psychology Today, "Should Kids Have a Voice in Post-Divorce Planning?," Arnie Swarz, accessed July 07, 2017

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