Custody battles often take up a lot of your time and resources, on top of the mental taxation they automatically come with. One of the worst feelings involves fighting through – and winning – a difficult and lengthy custody battle, only for your child to say they want to live with your co-parent.
This may feel like a devastating blow after everything else you have gone through. How should you even react in such a situation?
Continue to encourage honesty
Very Well Family discusses the emotionally difficult issue of a child wanting to live with the other parent. They acknowledge the fact that parents will likely feel anger and despair first and foremost in such a situation. As mentioned, it often feels like crushing defeat even after supposedly “winning”.
First and foremost, keep in mind that you do not want to scare your child away from honesty. It likely took a lot of courage for them to speak up, and you do not want to punish them for their honesty by lashing out at you. This could cause them to clam up over important matters in the future.
Discuss the situation openly
Instead, encourage them to speak openly and freely about their reasonings behind this question. Discuss the situation with them, and consider bringing in your co-parent as well. If you do feel like this may not be the best idea for legitimate reasons, consider consulting with a friend or relative who can remain bias-free.
Do not discuss these concerns with your child. You should never disparage your co-parent in front of them either, as this could end up used against you in court later. Instead, remain levelheaded and try to exert compassion and understanding.