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Should you include your children when talking about custody and when and where they will stay?

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Should you include your children when talking about custody and when and where they will stay?

Interviewer: Should you include your children when talking about custody and when and where they will stay?

Bridget Barnes: That depends. It really depends on whether you're going to talk to your children about custody according to their age. If they're teenagers, ages 16 or 17, then you can talk to them about custody and where they're going to stay, but the final decision lies with the parents and what's best for the child. If they're in school and it's the middle of the school year, you're not going to pull them out and send them someplace else just because they want to live with their dad, because you're thinking about their education. So it really depends on a lot of things and it’s important for the parents to have conversations alone long before they include their children.

Interviewer: So on the topic of co-parenting, what do you do when one parent says, “Yes,” and other one says, “No”?

Bridget Barnes: What do you do when one parent says “yes” and the other one says “no” when you're co-parenting? Well, that's a good question. It's important to get on the same page. If you happen to say “yes” to something that the other parent had said “no” to and you find out about it, you want to hold your child responsible. Usually, they're manipulating. Usually they know that the other parent has already told me “no.” I hold the child responsible and there's a consequence involved in trying to manipulate parents. So I would have a conversation with the child and then I would always make sure that I get on the same page with that parent.

So if my son called me and said, "Mom, can I go with my friends? They're standing on the front porch." And I would say, "Well, I have to call your dad and ask if it's okay with him, as well." "But they're sitting on the front porch, mom. They're waiting for me." I would say, "Well, you're asking me now, the answer is no, but if you wait for what your father and I to talk about it then we can discuss that." So he was always willing to wait so that we can get on the same page. Don't be in a rush to make a decision when it comes to your children.

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