Child custody issues are some of the most complex and difficult to sort out during and after a divorce. Parents must face the new reality that they will not see their kids as much as when the entire family lived together and this is difficult. Child custody issues do not end once the divorce papers are finalized. In fact, as children age, they begin to have their own opinions about who they spend their time with. This can create further conflict, hard feelings and strain on the relationships.
In the state of Minnesota, there is no set age where a child can choose which parent to live with, so it is generally left to the parents and the courts, if needed and the older the child, the more weight this opinion (or preference) carries. The family law team at Kallemeyn & Kallemeyn can help your family through all types of custody issues during and after a divorce.
Child Custody Issues During and After a Divorce
If your child is showing a preference for which parent they want to spend more time with, you may want to think carefully about how to proceed. Here are a few tips for managing this delicate situation and ensuring an outcome that is positive for all:
Foster open communication: As your child ages, it is important for him/her to understand that you value their opinion and that their voice will be heard when there is a concern. Making sure that you have open communication with your kids will help in the event they have a new opinion or desire to change the current custody arrangement. Open communication helps prevent big surprises too!
Be empathetic: Listen to your child and really try to understand where he/she is coming from. Try to figure out why he/she might be asking for the change.
Bring the ex-spouse into the conversation: It is generally best if the two parents can help to solve issues that come up related to changes to a custody agreement. If you are on good terms with your ex-spouse, try bringing him/her into the conversation so that you can have a conversation altogether.
Consider other children and/or adults that will be impacted: It can be very difficult to have different custody arrangements for different siblings so this should be considered if one of your children is asking for a change.
Child Custody Mediator
Consider mediation to resolve the issue: Mediation can be an ideal forum for resolving child custody issues at any time, particularly when a child is voicing a preference for change. Mediation is less expensive than going to court and takes less time. It can empower all parties to be part of the solution, rather than increasing overall conflict.
Resolve Child Custody Issues, MN
If you have questions about your custody arrangement, call the team at Kallemeyn & Kallemeyn today at (763) 427-5131. Lisa Kallemeyn brings more than two decades of experience in family law in Minnesota and can serve as either your family lawyer OR a family mediator.