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Child custody disputes - what do children have to say?

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None of our Maryland readers would doubt that a divorce can be tough for all of the parties involved. But, for many families, if there are children who have to witness the divorce process, it can be hard to imagine what might be going through their minds. If there is a child custody dispute during the divorce proceedings, it can make things even tougher.

With those types of issues in mind, HBO recently aired a documentary titled, "Don't Divorce Me! Kids' Rules for Parents on Divorce." The 30-minute show will be shown repeatedly throughout October, and focuses heavily on talking to children about their thoughts and feelings during and after a divorce.

All loving parents want to be as close to their children as possible, but during a divorce both legal and physical custody must be decided. If the soon-to-be ex-spouses cannot come to an acceptable agreement on their own, the court must step in to make the decision for them.

Legal custody concerns the right to make major decisions that will affect a child's life, such as where they go to school, what religion they will be raised under and what type of medical care they will receive. Physical custody mostly concerns where the child will live, and which parent will be most responsible for their daily activities.

While parents go back and forth over these issues, the children in the HBO documentary had some very basic advice. For instance, make sure the transition from each home is easy. In addition, children say it is best to resist putting them in the middle of the contentious divorce issues.

A custody dispute can be hard on both the parents and children involved. However, if the parents stay focused on the best interests of the child, the result can be beneficial for all parties.

Source: USA Today, "When parents divorce, how NOT to treat the kids," Sharon Jayson, Sept. 20, 2012

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