Figuring out a child custody agreement both parents can agree to can be incredibly challenging in some situations, especially if neither parent is willing to become the noncustodial parent or agree to a joint custody arrangement. But as hard as parents think these disputes are on them, some experts believe the effect is far worse on children, who are typically caught in the middle with nowhere to go.
In this respect, some believe that asking a child about their living arrangement preference is a good idea because it can stave off resentment toward one of both parents down the road. As a Psychology Today article explains, this is especially true among teens because they begin developing their adult identities around puberty. During this time, they typically want to have more control over their lives and environment by making more decisions. This may include having their desires considered during custody negotiations as well.
Here in Maryland, judges may consider the wishes of the child, depending on their age. Typically, the wishes of very young children are not considered; though if they are, this happens very rarely, says the People’s Law Library of Maryland. If a child is 16 years of age or older though, they may petition the court themselves to have a custody arrangement changed.
Because there is no specific age range dictated by Maryland law, parents need to use their own discretion when drafting custody arrangements. Take into consideration that what might be in your best interests may not be in your child’s best interests. In such cases, it may be a good idea to talk to your child and listen to what they have to say on the matter.