Divorce in Tennessee is very hard on children. It is a huge change in their lives that is completely out of their control. The idea of having parents in two different households can be a lot for a child to understand and deal with regardless of his or her age. However, if you start to bring your child into the custody battle, it can have even more of a negative effect on him or her.
Custody decisions are an adult matter that you really should not drag your child into. Making such choices can be very difficult for a child and cause lasting effects. Here is a look at three reasons why you should avoid making your child get involved with custody decisions.
- They are not capable of making this type of decision
The Tennessee Bar Association explains that children do not have the mental capabilities or the emotional abilities to make a decision about custody. This is even more true when the child is younger. In any case, though, a child only wants to make each parent happy. Making him or her choose between you and the other parent is an impossible thing for the child to do, so it only leads to emotional strife.
- It puts your child in the middle
Your child should be a neutral party in a divorce. The issues at hand are not his or her issues. As adults, you and the other parent need to handle your problems and negotiate solutions alone. Involving your child can lead to mental trauma or emotional issues that can linger with a child for the rest of his or her life. So, for mental health, you need to leave your child out of whatever is happening in your divorce.
- The court does not give a lot of weight to younger children’s opinions
The court realizes that younger children cannot make a solid decision about who he or she wishes to live with based on the criteria the law requires. In general, the law says children age 12 and older do have the right to express their wants and desires when it comes to custody, and the court will often give consideration to such requests, but for younger children, the court may or may not consider what they want. The goal is to do what is in the best interest of the child.
While the court may talk to your child regarding custody, you should never force your child to be involved. Your job as a parent is to protect your child, which in this type of situation means not making him or her handle this very grown up issue.