Co-parenting is rarely easy. Even if you and your spouse are on good terms, conflicts are bound to come up in joint custody arrangements simply because you are two different people who may have different ideas about how to best raise your children. It is important that you are able to work through these issues though, not just for your sake but for your children’s as well. A Tazewell County child custody lawyer from our firm may be able to help you.
What Kind of Co-Parenting Issues Can Come Up in Joint Custody Arrangements?
You want consistency when you share parenting time with your ex, but all sorts of conflicts can come up in joint custody arrangements. If you both have different ideas about how to parent your children, that needs to be addressed. Common issues include:
Discipline: Having two sets of rules and one household that is more punishing than another can be extremely confusing for a child. It’s a good idea to get on the same page about basic rules and what happens when these rules are violated.
Finances: Sometimes one household clearly has more money than the other. This can create obvious inequities and could be exacerbated by a parent who attempts to “buy” their children’s affection. It’s wise to have a discussion about how the children’s financial needs are met and whether or not money will be spent on nonessentials outside of holidays and birthdays.
Resentment: If you and your ex did not end things on the best terms, you need to keep your kids away from those feelings of resentment. Talking badly about your children’s other parent while they are in your home is a horrible idea and you will just make things more difficult for everyone.
How Can We Overcome Parenting Issues in Joint Custody Arrangements?
The key is communication. You cannot just yell at each other when there is some kind of fundamental disagreement about how the kids are raised or treated. Clearly, both of you care a lot about these issues, otherwise there would not be conflict in the first place. You should:
- Put aside any lingering feelings of animosity from the divorce
- Actively listen to what the other parent is saying
- Remain focused on the children
- Make requests instead of demands, i.e. “can you try X” not “you should do X”
If you are really struggling, sometimes therapy can be beneficial. Some family therapists can focus on co-parenting and the issues that are common to joint custody arrangements. Therapy can help you set boundaries and communicate more effectively. It could also show that some things are worth compromising on a little. For example, you and your former spouse may disagree about how much screen time your children have, but your kids are keeping up on their school work and other obligations while they are with your ex. You might be able to let a small difference in parenting philosophies slide.
Contact Our Family Lawyers
If you have any questions about joint custody arrangements and how you should handle any conflicts, contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. Our knowledgeable and compassionate family lawyers are here to help you.