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What to do if a child chooses the other parent

Divorce isn’t just stressful for the couple involved; it can also be extremely difficult for their children. Children and teens may be confused or upset by such a major life change and might not understand why divorce happened. Because of this, they might blame you, which is heartbreaking for any parent.

Divorce has damaged your relationship with your child, so you might worry about how to make amends. After all, their preference for the other parent can greatly affect custody and visitation rights.

Your child’s best interest is the most important factor for a court during custody decisions. A court can listen to what your child thinks would be most beneficial for them. Regardless, the custody agreement should protect your child’s well-being and safety. The court can still find the other parent to be unfit despite your child’s preference.

If your child is only 6 years old, the court likely wouldn’t determine a ruling solely on their judgment. However, a Maryland judge may more seriously consider their preference starting around age 12.

When you fear that your child might choose the other parent over you, avoid retaliating against them. Yelling at them will only hurt your chances of earning custody as well as further strain your relationship. Instead, practice patience and remember that they may be scared or sad now, but they may understand and forgive you in the future.

Moreover, child custody agreements aren’t set in stone. They are actually modified over time in most cases. Your attorney can help you appeal or modify custody decisions later on. Even if your child decides to live with the other parent now, one day they may choose to spend equal time with each of you.

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