Divorces don’t just happen. They’re usually subject to months and sometimes years of serious consideration and assessment. In many instances, the decision-making processes will be centered on the strength of the couple’s feelings for one another or the negative behavior of either or both parties.
Nevertheless, one of the most important considerations is how a divorce could impact any shared children. As a man seeking a divorce in Florida, you need to be mindful of how your kids and your relationships with them could be affected as a result of the split. One element that can be worth examining is whether your kids’ age factors into how you should approach your divorce and custody choices.
So, what is the worst age for divorce for kids? What impact does their time of life have? Let’s take a closer look at the issue.
The Worst Age for Psychology and Development
When people discuss the worst age for divorce for kids, they’re usually focused on the psychological and developmental impact it will have. After all, even amicable divorces result in distinct alterations to children’s lives. Their residential arrangements, day-to-day activities, and even their relationships with their parents can be affected. When significant disruptions occur at key moments in children’s development, they can experience psychological crises that are similar in nature to trauma.
In this respect, the worst age for divorce for kids is usually considered to be between 6 and 12 years old. This tends to be a key point in your child’s social and psychological development. They’re old enough to experience and remember difficult circumstances related to divorce. However, they don’t necessarily yet have the tools to navigate and manage their feelings surrounding it.
This doesn’t mean that the periods before and after these ages can’t be difficult on kids going through divorce. When there are extreme events during the process, such as arguments between parents, domestic abuse, and even malicious parent syndrome, the resulting trauma can leave its mark no matter what age your children are.
Knowing that divorce can be particularly difficult for children at a certain age shouldn’t necessarily be an influencing factor in your decision to split. After all, toxic relationships between parents who stay together ostensibly for the children can be more damaging than the divorce. Rather, the knowledge of these difficult ages should help you to approach the process more mindfully.
The Worst Age for Custody Cases
It isn’t just the development and psychological elements that determine the worst age to divorce for kids. Their ages can also play a role in influencing other areas of the process and the actions beyond. This is because the child’s age can be an influential factor in establishing custody arrangements in the Florida family court system.
In some ways, younger children may be challenging for men seeking custody in Florida. The state’s family court system has a reputation for showing undue favor to mothers in custody cases. Unfortunately, you may find this is exacerbated by divorcing while your children are still young. Younger children often exhibit a stronger bond with mothers and the courts may conclude may award primary custody to the mother to maintain this closeness. It can therefore be considered a disadvantage to divorce when your children are still below the age of 10. This is why it is so vital to work with an attorney with experience representing fathers in Florida’s family courts.
The child’s custody preferences can also play a role in what the worst age for divorce for kids is. Technically speaking, there is no set age that the Florida family courts apply to considering a child’s wishes for who they want to primarily live with. In general, the judge in the case will use their discretion to assess the child’s maturity in relation to their ability to make a choice. Nevertheless, the younger and less mature your child is, the less likely they are to be able to influence proceedings. That said, if you don’t have a positive relationship with your child, even their higher age may not be a positive factor.
What Contributes to the Challenges?
Your child being in a more difficult age bracket isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s important for you to understand what contributes to the challenges of your child’s age. This enables you to make better decisions about how you proceed. This can also help you to collaborate more effectively with your attorney.
The contributing factors in relation to psychology and development can be:
The actions of both parents
How each parent behaves during and following the divorce process has a significant impact on the child’s psychology and development. It is certainly natural for there to be some tension during a divorce. Nevertheless, when children are exposed to parents’ toxic behavior toward one another — particularly between the ages of 6 and 12 — this can have a long-lasting effect.
The support systems available
Children’s ability to cope with their parents’ divorce at vulnerable ages can be affected by what support resources they have access to. On the most basic level, this is the continued support of their friends and family. However, access to support through counseling, community services, and their school can affect their outcomes.
The contributing factors in relation to custody may include:
Relationships with parents
Though younger children may generally favor the mother in custody, this isn’t necessarily a given. The relationships between the child and each parent is likely to be taken into account. Early bonding is just as important for fathers as it is mothers, and the court’s perception of the efforts you’ve made to connect with your child may contribute to custody decisions at traditionally challenging ages.
Maturity of the child
As previously touched on, the court will often use their discretion to determine whether your child is mature enough to state preferences in relation to custody. This may mean that you face challenges even when they’re at an age that may otherwise be considered to be more conducive to an equal custody arrangement.
How Can You Mitigate Issues?
Just because your child may be at a challenging age with respect to divorce, this doesn’t mean you’re entirely powerless to act positively. There are steps you can take to mitigate the potential issues related to both the psychological and custody elements that arise from your child’s age.
Primarily, ensure that your child receives significant support and guidance throughout the divorce process. They are likely to have a difficult experience no matter what age they are when you divorce. Keep communicating with them about the situation. Reassure them that they’re not to blame and answer their question honestly. Consider engaging a child therapist if they’re particularly struggling. These steps not only help to manage your child’s psychological needs, it also demonstrates to family courts making decisions on custody that you’re committed to prioritizing your child’s well-being.
Alongside this, maintain a close collaboration with an experienced family law attorney representing men in Florida. They will have a nuanced understanding of the factors that impact custody cases in relation to your child’s age. They can help you to gather evidence that supports the efforts you’re making to mitigate the negative impact on your child, as well as provide advice that enables you to navigate any hurdles surrounding your child’s preferences for custody. Be open and honest with them about the situation and any difficulties your child has had throughout your separation. Together, you can achieve the most positive outcome for everyone involved.
Call The Family Law Attorneys Men Trust (813) 415-3510
In Law We Trust Divorce and Family Lawyers is a premier firm of divorce lawyers representing men in family law proceedings. We have years of experience assisting men who have children of various ages to navigate the divorce and custody process. Our knowledge and skills help to guide our clients through the challenges of the Florida family law courts and reach a fair outcome. Call us today and get the proper representation men need and deserve.
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