QUESTION: Should a child choose between divorcing parents?
ANSWER: In general I do not favor a child being made to choose between parents. Allow me to explain. One gentleman I know tells of his parents divorcing when he was five. He was the youngest in a large family living on a farm. The parents took the children to the front yard. The father moved to one side of the yard and the mother to the other. They then told the kids they were divorcing and that they should walk to the parent they wanted to live with. If you could see the pain in his face as he relives that incident from over a half-century ago, I think you would agree with me that what his parents did was barbaric.
I can understand taking into consideration the wishes of older children, but even then their choices may be made more from fear than desire. For example, a sixteen-year-old boy might choose to live with his father, even when he desperately wants to live with his mother, because he fears that if he doesn’t go with his father he will be abandoned by him. Or a sixteen-year-old daughter chooses to go with Dad because she fears he cannot take care of himself. She goes with him despite his living a lifestyle definitely not healthy for her to be around. Therefore, while there is value in letting older children have a voice, I think that having a wise neutral party decide (hopefully a judge with good sense) might be the better course of action.
The far better choice is to find a way for the parents to repair their marriage and make it good again. That removes all questions about custody, who the children live with, and more. We will do all we can to help you salvage your marriage. Our success rate over the last 19 years is remarkable. Call us toll free at 866-903-0990 or email us at info@JoeBeam.com.
See accompanying blog: Should we stay together for the kids?
See accompanying blog: Can a couple be happy if they stay together for the kids
See accompanying blog: How does a staying together for the kids affect the kids?