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Family law: Can kids pick which parent with whom to live?

When parents separate, it often puts their children in a precarious position. If the kids are very young, the impact may be minimal since they may not even realize what's happening, but older children will feel the pain as much as their parents do. In fact, children in Canada may often wish to choose with whom they're going to live, but ultimately, that should be the decision of the parents. Under family law, if they can't come to an agreement, the court will make a decision for them.

Older children have more of a say when it comes to the decisions that may affect their lives. It is most apt to be kids around the age of 12 and older, although that is not carved in stone since many children younger than 12 show a great depth of maturity. Even though children may be encouraged to have their say, a parent should never pit his or her children against the other parent.

When both parents are able to sit down with older children and have a talk about their living situation, these issues may solve themselves. However, if parents can't agree on custody issues, often a third party like a mediator or family counsellor may be able to help. Often children may open up when a third party is present.

A lawyer in Canada may also be in a position to help a client sort out these kinds of details. Family law lawyers are experienced in the divorce process and may be able to offer compassionate advice or guidance to a parent involved in making a custody decision. A lawyer may provide logical answers to emotionally-fuelled questions regarding children and divorce.   

Source: yoursocialworker.com, "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe??? Can a child choose which parent to live with?", Gary Direnfeld, Accessed on April 16, 2018

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