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Re: Can a child choose which parent to live with?


This article resulted in two interesting replies, definitely worth mentioning:

1 Mr. Direnfeld:  

I thought you might be interested to know that, in Georgia, children 14 and over  are allowed to elect with which parent they will live, in a divorce (or modification).  The Court (and parents) essentially have no say in the matter (absent a showing of unfitness of the elected parent).  It's a terrible system, but it's the law, here. 

2 Dear Gary,

This one needs some expansion.

Children most definitely have an awareness of and security in the parent who
they are safe with, who prepares their meals, who helps them with homework,
who hugs them when they get boo-boos, who they come to in the middle of the
night when they are frightened or sick, and who listens to them when they
talk.  That is to say, parents are not always equal in the role they have
played or will continue to play in their children's lives.  

While the article seeks to promote the concept that "the best parent is both
parents", we both know that a child does not "need" either parent.  What
they need is at least one caring, present and safe person in their lives.
Let's be realistic about what is really best for children and not be so
concerned about promoting those concepts that do more for espousing
mandatory joint/physical custody theories.

Also, an over-reliance on professionals to make decisions about children's
placement in divorce belies the fact that a vast majority of those doing
court work--including the judges--have little to no training in domestic
violence and child abuse and often minimize the effects of DV on children
and blame the mother for being "alienating" because she doesn't want joint

As always, domestic violence is a prevalent issue among divorcing couples,
and these sorts of feel-good articles do much to place event greater hurdles
on protective parents in custody litigation by shaping public policy that is
not grounded in reality.



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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
(905) 628-4847

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert on child development, parent-child relations, marital and family therapy, custody and access recommendations, social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a Section 112 (social work) report.

Search Gary’s name on GOOGLE.COM to view his many articles or visit his website. Call him for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. His services include counseling, mediation, assessment and assessment critiques.


For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.


20 Suter Crescent, Dundas, ON, Canada L9H 6R5  Tel: (905) 628-4847  Email: gary@yoursocialworker.com