You and your ex get shared custody in the divorce. You sit down to decide where the children should live and what schedule you should use.
As you talk it out, though, you can’t help but feel like one important factor is missing. What do the children actually want? Should you ask them where they want to live?
Some of it depends on age. Kids who are under 10 years old typically move back and forth between two homes. This keeps both parents involved and makes sure that the children still have strong relationships with both of them. They know their parents love them, and they don’t lose these relationships because of the divorce.
However, teenagers may want to pick where they live. They may connect more with one parent — a father and a son, for instance, or a mother and a daughter. They may have too many possessions to move them every week to a new house. These things could include books, computers, instruments, clothes and sports equipment. They may also want to start getting more involved with friends, significant others and their social life. That can be easier for them at one location than another.
As such, some experts suggest keeping an open dialogue with the children. Find out how they feel and what they want, and then use that information when making decisions for them.
Of course, as you and your ex move through this process, you also need to understand your custody rights. You do have a right to be involved, no matter what that looks like or how the situation changes over the years.