When children are younger, parents and the courts are likely in the best position to determine which living arrangements will best meet a child’s needs. Younger children will most likely feel secure if they are permitted to equal time with both parents. However, as children reach the adolescent years, they begin to develop their own identity and want more of a say in decisions that impact their lives.
In addition to wanting more independence, teenagers often become more active in both their extracurricular activities and social lives. Older children also bear more scholastic responsibility, all of which may make shuttling between homes more awkward and irritating for them. In spite of how parents may personally feel about their current custody arrangements, teenagers may need to be given more freedom to express their living preferences. Teens who are not permitted some say in their personal life may rebel and engage in various disruptive behaviors.
Those who allow children to choose which parent they prefer to spend more time with may reap the rewards of a closer relationship down the road. While it may not be safe in some situations to allow children to have a choice in child custody orders, in those families where it may be feasible, children may find a compromise that suits both parents. Kentucky residents who feel that their custody orders may need to be modified, or have other issues relating to family law, may seek the assistance of an experienced attorney.