For most of your child’s life, they’ve lived under the same roof with both of their parents, but that’s about to change. You and your spouse are getting a divorce and this has put your child smack dab in the middle. This can be hard for your child to understand when they may not know what their future is going to look like – and neither may you.
Parents often have to discuss how child custody agreements will work after a divorce. Some parents can easily decide when and where a child will be and others may have a long drawn-out battle. But, what about the child’s thoughts on custody – can they make the decisions for themselves?
Here’s what you should know:
Considering the well-being of a child
Some parents realize that their divorce will affect their children in many ways. When this happens, parents may try to ease the pain of child custody by allowing a child to decide who they want to be with. Some children are too young to make decisions, but parents may believe their preteens and young adults have better judgment as to who they should live with.
However, what a child wants may not be negotiable. California law states that, if parents can’t make a decision, the court will decide a custody order based on the best interest of the child. Several factors may affect the court’s decision:
- The child’s age
- The child’s health (if they have a disability, were abused or uncared for by a parent)
- The child’s emotional relationship with parents
- The parent’s capability to nurture the child (financial and emotional stability)
- Any substance abuse or violence from a parent
- The child’s schooling, community and housing
The order isn’t intended to pick custody based on age, sex, race, religion, disability or nationality. A parent may discuss their right to visitation.
The decision regarding your child custody agreement can greatly affect your life and how much time you’ll be with your child. When it comes to your parenting plan, you may need to know your options.