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Special considerations for young school children

Making plans for your child when you are going through a child custody case means that you have to do your best to determine those needs during the future. This isn't always possible. However, there are some guidelines that you can consider for each stage of a child's life.

One particularly difficult time to plan for is when a child is in elementary and middle school. During this stage, which usually encompasses ages 6 to 12, here are some of the considerations that you need to think about regarding child custody:

Increased independence

Children in this age group are usually able to adjust to life in two homes. Where younger children might not have been able to be away from their primary caregiver very long, children in this age group can usually stay away from the primary caregiver for longer periods. This is due to the increased independence of elementary and middle school students.

Ability to adjust

As children age, they become more able to adjust to life in each home. Small rule changes become more manageable as the child gets older. The ability to adjust to the different rule sets comes from the ability to adapt to situations. Think of the school system around this time. Some children have more than one teacher, so they are getting used to making adjustments as necessary to follow the rules of each teacher. The same thing happens with the child's parents.

More activities

Children who are at this stage in life tend to become more social. They might have a pretty close set of friends. They might become more active in school activities and social activities. Your child custody agreement needs to address these activities so that your child's social, school, and extracurricular activities don't suffer because of a rigid custody order. By the same token, you don't want your child's relationship with either parent to suffer because of these activities. Additionally, you and your ex should try to work together to ensure that your child has ample parental support in these activities and schooling.

Need to be sheltered

This is a difficult age for children. There isn't any need for parents to make it worse by arguing in front of the children. You can't use your children as messengers to go between you and your ex. Instead, handle disagreements with your ex when your children aren't present. This can help your children to remain focused on what is important, like school and activities, instead of what is going on with you and your ex.

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