If you are in the middle of a divorce, and your spouse is fighting you for custody of your teenage child, you are most likely busy preparing your case so you will give a favorable testimony in your behalf when you go to court for an outcome. Often during this process, the child's feelings get put on the back-burner as parents are stressed out about the process. Here are a few ways you can prepare your child for the custody procedure so they are not overwhelmed when it comes time to speak with a judge about the situation.
Take Time To Listen
Ask your child about their feelings regarding where they will live. You may find that your child is scared of losing touch with the other parent, and you may wish to take this into consideration when deciding on visitation and custody. Knowing how your child is feeling may help guide you in how to move forward with your requests from the other parent. If you feel your child is having difficulty with the entire idea of divorce and custody, a trip to a counselor may be beneficial.
Keep Visits Positive
Often when you are in the middle of a custody battle, the child will have time with each parent separately as you await a hearing. You may need to go to a mediation session to decide who has which days with the child while waiting for the court date. When this is happening, do your best not to badmouth the other parent in any way. This is unfair to the child no matter how you feel about the other party.
Spend quality time with your child and stay away from asking questions about the other parent, as this may just make your child feel as if they need to choose sides. Do fun activities, but do not go overboard where it appears you are trying to win over your child by buying them things or taking them places you would not normally go. Be positive, but do not be fake.
Encourage Them To Tell The Truth
Let your teenager know they may need to speak to a judge during your divorce proceedings about how they feel about the situation. Encourage your child to speak the truth and to not feel they have to favor one parent over the other. Speak with your spouse about this beforehand, as well. Tell your spouse that you wish to do the best for your child and that you would like them to speak to the child about the same points, if possible. If your child does not feel threatened by giving an answer one of you wish to hear, they will be more apt to tell the judge where they would be most happy. The judge will take this into consideration when making a decision.
For more information, contact a family law attorney like Aaron Law Offices PLLC.