Paralegal’s Perspective (By Jordan Honea)
Everyone understands that divorce is emotionally difficult. The life you once had with your significant other is suddenly under a microscope, broken down by evaluations and numbers. Yet the children in a divorcing family are given by the justice system special consideration–experts are often called and the court is careful to mind the best interests of the children.
But the child’s actual preferences are rarely considered, not until and unless they are seen as “mature” enough to give an unbiased, uninfluenced, and reasoned opinion. This “mature” moment is usually not seen as being reached until a child’s teenage years, but there are occasions when children younger than 13 are considered mature enough to voice their preferences to the experts (and, thereby, the court).
Recently, a video of a six-year-old girl who appears to have this maturity went viral. In this homemade video, the little girl asks her mother if she is “planning to be his friend,” discussing the father. As sad as it is to see one so young in this position, it seems this little girl could not have said it better. Despite the divorce between two adults, the children of marriage deserve to remain outside of the adult animosity and maintain their innocence with respect to the parents. They need the love and respect of both parents and should never be placed in the middle of an adult dispute. While it may be very tempting to “vent” in the presence of the children, as is often the case, it is almost scary how much they absorb and understand. So be careful to protect their innocence, and leave your venting for your friends and therapist.
The information in this post is not legal advice—it is only legal information. To obtain legal advice by hiring the attorneys of Broxterman Alicks McFarlane PC as your counsel, please contact the firm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-331-6432.