1) The Courts do not like to involve minor children in adult matters/court
2) Under most circumstances a minor child is not equipped mentally or emotionally
to make such a large decision based on what is in their best interest.
"But the Judge should know how my child feels about his/her Mother/Father."
The hard truth is this; most Judges in Florida are extremely reluctant
to involve a minor child in divorce, paternity, or "custody"
proceedings. One obvious reason for this is that these types of proceeding
are often messy and volatile. Involving a minor child in litigation exposes
them to the emotions that the parent(s) may be feeling, many of which
can be very negative feelings. It is my experience that minor children
who are exposed to litigation often have a much more difficult time adjusting
to changes that might occur as a result of the litigation. Furthermore,
it is never beneficial for a child to hear negative things about the other
parent, true or not. I always ask my clients to keep in mind that their
child is one half them and one half the other parent. When something negative
is said about the other parent, it is not uncommon for the child to believe
that the same is true about them, because they are one half that person.
It is critical that a parent recognize this so that they can think before
they speak to their child about the other parent or before they involve
the child in litigation.
Another down-side to the child being involved in litigation is that it
can cause rifts in otherwise normal parent-child relationships. If a child
testifies against a parent or tells the Court that he/she does not want
to spend time with a parent; that can have serious repercussions on the
child's current and future relationship with that parent. Not involving
the child in the litigation process helps minimize this possibility. In
addition, most children don't want to be involved…even if they
tell a parent that they do. Keep in mind, your child wants to protect
you and his or herself. Out of love and self-preservation, many children
tell each parent what he/she thinks that parent wants to hear. A parent
should always keep this in mind when dealing with litigation issues. As
hard as it may be to believe, your child is likely telling the other parent
what they want to hear too. That does not mean your child is bad, it means
they are normal.
Let's face it. Even the sweetest, most innocent children can learn
how to work the system (or work their parents). Minor children (who have
brains that have been scientifically shown to be incapable of making good
choices until they reach their twenties)should not be allowed to make
decisions about who they should "live" with…period. If
we allowed the child to decide, the result would often look like this:
Suzie wants to "live" with mom because mom let's her stay
up late and eat ice cream for dinner. A year later, mom decides Suzie
should eat vegetables for dinner. So, Suzie says she wants to live with
dad because he lets her play her Nintendo DS whenever she wants and eat
ice cream for dinner. Then Dad takes away the DS. Now Suzie wants to live
with mom because mom will let her play the DS. And on and on it goes.
Suzie is never really making decisions based on what is in her best interest.
Her brain is incapable of doing that. She instead makes decisions that
have immediate gratification. There is a reason why children are raised
by adults and not the other way around.