If you are a divorced parent with minor children, at some point, one of your children may say that they want to live with their other parent. Even Colorado parents who suspected that this conversation might happen may feel unprepared.
Listening to your child
You need to listen to your child when this conversation happens, but you can make rules about remaining polite and respectful. You should also try to imagine what your child is going through. Your child may have already discussed this with the other parent, but if they have not, you may want to bring that parent into the conversation as well. Above all, you should try to prioritize your child’s needs. However, you might also be feeling some conflicting or negative emotions, and it is good to have an outlet for these. You may want to talk to a friend or a counselor.
Things to avoid
Refusing to have the conversation with your child can make it appear as though you do not care. You should not take the child’s wishes as an assessment of your parenting ability, and you should not say negative things about the other parent. Even if your first instinct is to say no, let the child know that you will consider the request.
Child custody can be one of the more difficult elements of divorce to negotiate, but parents should try to focus on the best interests of the child. This is the standard used by the court when making a custody decision. It is not uncommon for custody arrangements to change over the years as children get older, but even if parents informally agree about making the custody changes, formally changing the custody order offers protection if one parent later does not comply with the agreement.