You never planned to divorce, but now that it has happened, you feel like it’s in your family’s best interests. One thing you’re not sure about, though, is if you should allow your child to have a say in what happens with their custody arrangements. Your child is going on 13, and she’s old enough to understand what is happening. You know that she loves and trusts both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, but you also know that she’s still a child and will need guidance throughout this process.
Since your child is going on her teens, it may be a good idea to include her in at least some of the custody-related decisions. For example, if you and your spouse are splitting custody 50-50, you can still allow your child to decide which house she’s at on the weekends or where she’d like to spend certain holidays. This works well if your child has friends nearer to one parent’s home or if she has one holiday that she loves to celebrate with a parent who loves Halloween versus one whose favorite is Christmas.
When you can give your child options, consider doing so
Even if you can’t allow your child to make the actual scheduling decisions, you can involve them in the divorce in other ways that will be positive for them. For example, allowing them to choose their new room in a new home or giving them a chance to select furniture and decorate a space in each parent’s home allows them an opportunity to feel more comfortable with the changes that have taken place.
Good communication with your ex-spouse and child will make this process easier. Parents can work together to make this sad time have a positive outcome.