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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  35 years experience counseling children and families
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What is in the best interests of a child, when a separation

Customer Question

What is in the best interests of a child, when a separation is happening and custody is an issue? Keep in mind the children are 1.5 years and3 years old, and both parents are active and your opinion are the children old enough to have 50/50 access with each parent? I have a lawyer and want a phsycologists opinion on the children
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  retireddebra replied 6 years ago.
You have place your question on the Canada law list.

Are you asking a legal question?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no i was asking a mental health question and apparently an expert thought it was legal
Expert:  retireddebra replied 6 years ago.
That's OK.

I will ask the administration to move it over and will alert an expert that it's coming.

You don't have to do anything more.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
thank you
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
The children are certainly old enough to see both parents often. It is the transitions back and forth to 2 houses which is difficult for an 18 month old. If there is any way that the baby could sleep in the same bed for another year, that would be ideal. I suppose that depends on how close you live to each other. A 3 year old can generally adjust to having 2 bedrooms. I am basing this opinion (and there is no good research) on the concept of the importance of consistency and order in the toddlers life as they develop their view of the world as a safe and predictable place (their world view). Of course the 3 year old also needs this, but has already formed their world view by this time.

This is a dilemma because the importance of maintaining a relationship with both parents should also be considered. I have always felt in the case of such young children, that the child stays in same house and the parents move from house to house. I have seen this done a time or two and it never lasted more than 6 months.

I hope you live only a few blocks away from each other.

Good luck and thanks for coming to JA with this very challenging question.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
we only live about 3 miles from each other at the moment and i am building a house around the corner in spring? The reason i ask is there mother thinks they are too young but she is not a psycologist or Has she talked to one that i know of.
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
The proximity is great!! I guess I am 50% agreeing with her. It is all about having one thing be consistent (for the baby) and that is the sleeping place and then, one could argue that the children should be kept together. How about every other Saturday and Sunday (all day) with Dad and 2-3 evenings per week. Then build up to overnights by next summer so that the goal is 50-50 by about one year from now. That will give everyone some adjustment time to the changes (parents separation and your new house).

Warning: not all courts agree with this philosophy (again, no good research). Must rely on what we know about child development.