Divorce proceedings can be smooth, civil processes. But they can also be messy, complex, and aggravating at times. This is especially true if children are involved. Couples who have decided to part ways may be able to agree amicably on several issues until the decision over child custody arises. If couples can't decide on who maintains custody of their children, then who does?
A common misconception is that if the child is old enough, he/she should be able to decide which parent to live with. But there are a few reasons why this may not be the best course of action.
- Parents might try to manipulate the child with unrealistic promises or bribes.
- Children may choose to live with the parent they think needs them the most. This places them into the role of caretaker, which is harmful to their well-being.
- If the child doesn't know one of the parents well, fairytale-like expectations can lead them to chose that parent. These expectations seldom align with reality.
If the two parties can't come to a consensus on child custody, there are a couple of ways the issue can be solved, one of which the court appointment of a lawyer to represent the child. This attorney can ensure that the child's best interests are at the heart of any custody decision. Parents can also request to have a lawyer appointed to their child, which may or may not be approved depending on the circumstances.
There are times when divorce proceedings can be filled with pain and heartache; no one wants to watch their child suffer through such difficult circumstances or to become just another asset to be fought over. A seasoned attorney can help make sure that any custody decision that's handed down is in the best interest of your child.