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Understanding the impact of divorce on older children

As children grow older, so too does their relationship with their parents. Florida parents see many changes in their children over the years, as the child matures into a young adult and continues to take on more responsibility.

As discussed previously in this blog, a divorce can appear at first blush to threaten the parent's relationship with his or her child, particularly if the other parent is not cooperative or encouraging of parenting time. While these issues are often thought of within the context of a parent's relationship with a young child, there are many child custody issues that can arise for older children as well.

For instance, older children may be more in tune with disputes that are occurring between the parents. Accordingly, negative comments made by one parent against the other might have more impact because the child is old enough to understand what is going on. In certain cases, the child might even be used as the messenger for these negative comments, which can put the child in the bad position of being in the middle of a fight between the parents. In other cases, the other parent might be trying to interfere with the child's relationship with the parent, in contravention of the parenting time order.

Ultimately, while there are different considerations for older children as opposed to younger children, the best interests of the child is still a central consideration. Older children need support and love from both parents, and parents should understand what their remedies are if the other parent is interfering or not obeying an existing parenting time order.

Source: Huffington Post, "What to do and not to do with your teen during divorce," Joshua Wayne, March 23, 2016

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