Many different aspects are involved in child custody cases. For many parents, working together to come up with the arrangements is the preferred option. Doing so gives them a chance to consider the unique factors in their case instead of asking a stranger to step in and make the decisions.
For some parents, the question of whether to consider the child's wishes may arise. This isn't an easy decision, but here are a few things to consider if you need to make the call about this matter.
Listen to your children
Even if you know that you can't include your child's wishes into the custody case, you should still take the time to listen their feelings. This gives you the chance to learn about what's bothering them and any concerns they might have. You may find that some of the things they have to say actually help you sort out these child custody matters. Children sometimes have unique ways of thinking that can be beneficial and provide you with solutions that aren't common but that are workable in your case.
Open the lines of communication
It is easy to start thinking about the custody case as "you versus your ex." But shouldn't be like that. Instead, both parents have to work together to devise an agreement that allows their child to have an active social life, a healthy family life, a supportive school life, access to medical care and the consistency that will help them thrive.
Losing sight of the fact that the children have to be at the center of the matter makes it more difficult. In order to draft the child custody agreement , you and your ex will need to learn how to communicate without conflict. This might not be easy, but it is fully necessary.
The court's view
There isn't a specific age that the court has to listen to the children in child custody cases here in Minnesota. Instead, the court takes each case individually into account to determine when the child's opinion should be considered. It is possible that the court will take an 8-year-old child's thoughts into account while not giving the same weight to a teenager's thoughts.
Ultimately, you have to do what you think is best for your children, but you have to remember that you aren't the sole parent. When you and your ex come together to make decisions, it is best if you can work as a team instead of behaving like adversaries.