Your teen probably has custody preferences

Many divorcing parents have questions about child custody, as they probably should. They wonder what is best for their children and how to allow their children to get through a divorce with the fewest negative consequences.

One thing that you may want to consider if you have older children is asking them what they want. Teens, in particular, don't want to be involved in a situation where their parents are competing over their time. They have their own interests and are becoming more independent. They want to be near their friends and activities.

Although you and your spouse may have their best interests at heart, the reality is that teens have their own opinions and may not want to do what you tell them. If they are 16, 17 or going on 18, the question is how much you really want to fight versus allowing them to do what is comfortable.

The court will consider your child's preferences, and you should, too. If your teenage son would prefer to live with dad and there are no specific reasons not to allow that to happen, it might be worth allowing that. Similarly, if a teenage girl wants to live with mom, then that's something dads may wish to allow. Teen years can be difficult, and teens may choose to stay with a parent of the same gender or with a parent who they feel better understands them.

In any case, your child's best interests have to be protected, but if you can help them get through this difficult time and into adulthood by listening, it's worth doing.

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