No one wants to subject children to the pain of a separation. Sadly, divorce is a reality for many couples with children.
Divorcing parents want to establish co-parenting relationships that are in the best interest of the child. However, negative feelings surrounding the circumstances of the split often lead to difficult custody battles in family court.
The rights of children
In some cases, children may express a preference to live with one parent over the other. Depending on their age and maturity, the reasons they give may or may not sway a court’s decision on the matter. Judges are keenly aware of statements that reveal parental alienation or manipulation, such as:
- “If I go with dad, my mom will cry a lot.”
- “I want to live with my mom because she’s buying me a car.”
- “My mom said my dad doesn’t love us anymore.”
Conversely, children may have valid reasons for their choices. In cases of abuse, neglect or inability to meet their needs, they often know exactly who their custodial parent should be. California law is careful to protect the rights of minor children in divorce and child custody cases.
Effective co-parenting eases the burden of divorce on children
It can be difficult to co-parent during and after a divorce, especially if the proceedings are contentious. The best-case scenario is one where children do not feel as if they must choose between their parents because they receive the time and care they need from both.
Even though the marriage ended, the family still exists. Good co-parents commit to raising healthy, happy children together, but apart.