• Can a Child Express Custody Preferences to the Court?

    Child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of the divorce process. Ideally, child custody issues for families in Owings Mills may be resolved by the parents through mediation. But when the parents disagree, the judge will make the decisions regarding parenting arrangements. The preferences of the minor child may play a role in the judge’s decision. However, it is not typically the only factor that a divorce judge will consider. The judge will give greater weight to the preferences of the child when that child displays maturity and offers a well-reasoned explanation of why one parent is preferred over the other. Superficial reasons such as fewer rules at one house will not help a child’s case.

    Even if a mature child has valid reasons why he or she prefers to primarily live with a particular parent, the judge is not likely to require the child to testify in court. Testifying in front of the parents can be psychologically damaging for a child of any age. Instead, the judge may decide to interview the child in chambers. Family lawyers may be present during the interview, but the parents will not be there.

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  • Helping Your Child Adjust to Visitation

    After a divorce or legal separation, you and your ex will follow a court-ordered parenting plan. This document establishes the type of child custody that both parents will have and it specifies when the child will be with each parent. Visitation is difficult to adjust to for both parents and children, but as time passes, the arrangement will start to feel more normal. Remember that it is possible to petition for a modification of the visitation schedule as your child grows and situations change. Talk to a family law attorney near Owings Mills for guidance. visitation - rights

    Maintaining a Routine

    Try to imagine how difficult it must be for a child to live in two separate households with two separate routines and sets of rules. Consistency across both households will help your child feel more secure and may even curb problematic behaviors as he or she grows older. Ideally, you and your ex can maintain similar daily routines and household rules, such as finishing homework before playtime and having dinner by a certain time.

    Feeling at Home

    If you’re the parent who moved out of the family home, you have the added challenge of helping your child feel at home in the new residence. Your child should have a bedroom of his or her own. Your child should arrange and decorate the bedroom to take ownership of the space. Extravagance is not necessary, but comfort is. Resist the temptation to purchase lots of new toys for your child for the purpose of distracting him or her from the new arrangement. Instead, focus on spending quality time together enjoying activities that you would normally do with your child.

    Handling Overnights

    Overnight visitation can be stressful for young children, particularly during school breaks when a child might live away from the primary residence for a week or longer. Do not take it as an insult if your child expresses homesickness or misses the other parent. Encourage your child to share these feelings openly and offer judgment-free reassurances.

    Staying Connected

    Children should always feel free to contact either of their parents regardless of which parent they are currently with. Phone calls, text messaging, and video calls strengthen the child’s relationship with each parent. Whenever it’s practical to do so, give your child privacy as he or she chats with the other parent.

  • Parenting Skills During a Divorce

    As difficult as a divorce might be for you and your spouse, it’s far more difficult for your children. Throughout each stage of the divorce process , prioritizing your children’s well-being and quality of life will help them get through the transition. After a divorce lawyer in Owings Mills files the divorce petition on your behalf, you and your spouse should sit down together with the children to break the news.

    This featured video offers some tips for telling kids about a divorce or legal separation. These parenting experts recommend avoiding the details of why the divorce is necessary. Instead, offer concrete examples of how daily life will change and provide plenty of reassurances of your love to help your children feel secure. Both during and long after the divorce, it’s essential to avoid disparaging your ex in front of the kids; they shouldn’t feel as though they must choose sides.