The entire family will need to have some difficult conversations and make deeply personal decisions when parents with children decide to divorce. Sometimes, parents quickly and effectively negotiate their parenting arrangement outside of court, leading to a smooth, uncontested divorce filing where the parents determine the children’s schedule.
Frequently, however, divorces with children involve scheduling disputes. The parents do not agree regarding the best way to split parenting time or decision-making authority. They end up in court, asking a judge to make decisions about parenting matters. If you and your ex are in the middle of a parenting dispute in New Hampshire, will your children have a say in what the courts decide?
The age and maturity of your children matters
There is no straightforward answer to the question of whether or not the preferences of your children will play a role in your parenting matters. The older your children are, the more likely it is that their wishes may influence the judge’s decision.
There is no magic age when children can decide where they will live. The chances are better that the judge will factor older children’s wishes into a decision, but the overall maturity of the children and the family dynamic will influence if a judge creates a parenting order that reflects a child’s preferences.
For example, if your children would prefer to stay with your ex because your ex does not enforce a curfew and allows unlimited online video gaming, a judge is unlikely to view those reasons as the thinking of a mature minor.
Can you keep your kids out of the parenting issue?
It is often best for the children to remain uninvolved in the separation or divorce of their parents if at all possible. If you and your ex can reach your own parenting arrangements outside of court, even if you have to go through mediation, you can potentially shield your children from the stresses involved in dividing parenting responsibilities. If you make the decisions together outside of court, then your children won’t have to speak up in what could be a very emotional and difficult time for them.
Learning more about what to expect in parenting matters will facilitate a better outcome for you and your children.