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How to account for your child’s age when negotiating a custody agreement

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2021 | Divorce, Family Law

Most moms and dads can agree on one thing: They want what’s in their kids’ best interests. Family law judges have that same goal.

Accordingly, the court may let your child’s age and developmental level impact what a judge deems is the best custodial option for them. Here are some things that should be considered, broken down by age range.

Infants’ and toddlers’ needs

Child psychologists argue that children who are 2.5 and younger generally have tremendous trust in their primary caregiver. They note that this is why kids this age find it challenging to be away from their primary custodial parent for a long time. Infants and toddlers may initially appear to be coping well with transferring between their parents’ homes but soon start to have difficulties connecting with others and could experience regressions in their behaviors. 

Preschooler’s or kindergartener’s developmental needs

Children become increasingly independent as they move past two years of age and onward up, through about five years of age. They tend to keep their absent parent at the forefront of their minds when they’re away from them, which makes it easier for them to enjoy overnights. They also tend to become increasingly expressive, which allows them to let you know when they’re not happy. Preschoolers also often feel a stronger connection with the parent of the same gender at this time.

Elementary-aged kids’ and tweens’ development

A child’s sense of independence and interest in socializing with others soars when they enter elementary or middle school. Children this age can often bear spending extended time away from their parents with occasional check-ins with the other parent in between. 

Teens’ needs

It’s there’s such a thing as the right time for parents to announce their divorce, then the time is never right for teens age 13 or older. Kids belonging to this age group tend to think of their parents’ divorce as disruptive and find it most comfortable when there’s some flexibility built into their schedules. Teens may find some solace in sharing their feelings with other teens also struggling to cope with their parents’ divorce in a support group setting. 

Helping your child through your divorce

Coordinating schedules is challenging. Creating a parenting plan that accounts for your Richmond child’s developmental needs adds a whole other level of complexity into the mix. A divorce & family law attorney here can help you come up with an ideal parenting plan that will work for you and your Kentucky family.