Co-parenting is always challenging, but it can be even more difficult when you and your former spouse have some different ideas about how to raise your children. Some minor differences between households can be fine, but children do benefit from some consistency. Being able to talk to your former spouse about things like this is a necessity in joint custody arrangements. Let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges that our child custody attorneys in Bergen County, NJ have seen often.
Can Parents Disagree on Discipline and Rules in Joint Custody Arrangements?
To some extent, but it really is important that children have some consistency on this front. If one parent puts their kids to bed at 9 and another lets them stay up until midnight, this can cause friction. The same is true if other basic rules are not followed. If one parent is lax about homework, chores, or other things that their children need to do, that can cause harm to the children and issues for the other parent.
How Do You Handle Financial Differences in Joint Custody Arrangements?
Another significant issue that can arise is a difference between finances and how that affects how both households are run. If one parent can afford expensive presents and trips while the other cannot, this can cause problems.
There are other financial issues that can pop up too. What if one parent decides that they only pay for the necessities, as outlined in the custody agreement? Forcing the other parent to pay for the bulk of their children’s other expenses, like presents, school trips, or extracurricular activities, can cause some strife and make co-parenting more difficult.
How Can Parents Deal With Co-Parenting Challenges?
You have to be able to communicate with your ex when any of these co-parenting challenges emerge. You should:
Actively listen: Do not just talk at your former spouse. Actually listen when they speak and see if you can find common ground. Maybe they are not being as unreasonable as you thought.
Be willing to compromise: Your kids need some consistency, but not everything needs to be exactly the same between households. If your former spouse gives them an extra half hour of screen time or you set bed time a little later, these might be minor issues that are worth compromising on.
Resist criticism: Do not just tell your former spouse what you think that they are doing wrong. That’s just going to shut down the conversation.
Try suggestions, not demands: Demanding that your co-parent does X is not always effective. Instead try saying something like “What if we did X?” or “Can we try X instead of Y?”
Talk to a Family Lawyer Today
If you need help with your custody battle or you want to change your co-parenting arrangement, we may be able to help. Contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark to schedule a consultation with our team. We can tell you more about how our experienced family lawyers can be of assistance.