WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR KIDS PREFER TO LIVE WITH YOUR EX?
Do your kids prefer to live with your ex?
This post is about those instances where your kids prefer to live with your spouse than with you after a divorce. Yea. Ouch.
In custody battles, this can be a real ouch moment for the disfavored spouse. But it happens. Sometimes your kids just prefer to live with your ex, and depending on their ages, the court will take their preference into consideration and award custody to the “favored” parent. Indeed the older the children, the more weight their “custody preference” will have.
This is true for celebrity couples too. When David Hasselhoff divorced his wife Pamela in 2006, for instance, the court considered the kids’ desire to be with their father and awarded him custody. He is hardly the only one this happened to.
Custody is a complex, multi-tiered issue. I wrote a post back in October whenever-it-was that outlines exactly what factors the court considers in awarding custody to a parent. It is a must read if you have a custody issue in your divorce. Check it out here: http://www.divorcesaloon.com/new-york-divorce-who-will-get-custody
For moms, having the kids express a preference for living with dad can be a devastating blow. But don’t turn on the kids if you are in this situation and their father gets custody. You should still aim to protect them, and not wreck their lives with your divorce, and to be the grown up even if your feelings are hurt and let them know it’s okay if daddy wins custody. Let them know they are safe with either one of you. Read this post: http://www.divorcesaloon.com/how-to-get-a-divorce-without-wrecking-the-kids Try to make them see that the divorce is not their fault, and surely, you should work to make them believe that you don’t blame them for anything, even if they want to live with your spouse instead of you.
But you know what? You can take comfort in the fact that the court looks at more than just the children’s preference. Even when the kids prefer to live with your ex and they testify to that, it is not automatic that they will be sent to live with your ex. The courts consider many factors first. The child’s preference is obviously a big factor. But there are others that may take precedence over what the children what. What factors does the court consider? Check out this post. It is pretty comprehensive. It’s called how to win custody: http://www.divorcesaloon.com/how-to-win-custody-in-a-divorce
If the court deems it in the children’s best interest to be with you, the court will grant custody to you even if the kids prefer to live with your ex. Maybe the other parent is more lax and the children don’t want the discipline and order you stand for. But that is not a reason to take your custody away and the court will weigh this in making a decision. One thing you might consider doing is getting a parenting coach before the custody trial. She or he may give you some pointers on making a good impression with the judge, and improving your relationship with the kids and improving your chances of winning custody. Read this post: http://www.divorcesaloon.com/the-parenting-coach-and-how-she-can-help-you-win-custody
One other option is to explore the option of sharing custody with your spouse. If the relationship between the two of you is not overly volatile, the court may be persuaded to consider a joint custody arrangement. Check out this post here: http://www.divorcesaloon.com/joint-custody-what-is-the-deal-with-joint-custody-in-new-york