How to Keep the Peace with Your Ex-Spouse About Co-Parenting: Agree to Disagree
You love the countdown to Christmas, hanging stockings on the mantelpiece and configuring the artificial Christmas tree as soon as you come home from the Black Friday sales, but your husband would roll his eyes every year when the Elf on the Shelf appeared. Your husband’s objections to the commercialization only grew stronger the older your children got. Likewise, once your daughter became a teenager, you tried to teach her the importance of looking presentable, but your husband thought all the focus on her appearance was harming her self-esteem and body image. Disagreements over parenting were not the only reason for your marriage falling apart, but they certainly added to the stress. Divorce can mean an end to the constant battles over parenting, but only if you let it. Once you finalize your parenting plan with the help of a San Jose child custody lawyer, you have the right to parent your children as you wish, but only if you and your ex-spouse agree to stay out of each other’s business.
Parenting Plans Are Not a License to Micromanage
Every divorce where the couple has minor children involves a parenting plan. This document sets a schedule for which days of the year the children will spend with each parent. It also lets you specify how you will make decisions about children’s schooling, extracurricular activities, and non-emergency medical care. You can agree to make these decisions jointly or to award one or the other parent the final say.
If you and your ex-spouse can’t agree on a parenting plan, the court must decide based on the children’s best interests. The goal is for the children to be safe and to enjoy a stable relationship with both parents.
When to Mind Your Business and When to Object
A stable relationship with both parents does not necessarily mean following the exact same rules at both parents’ houses. The court does not care if Dad lets the kids play video games that Mom finds offensively stupid (but the games have an age-appropriate rating). Likewise, if Dad lets his teen daughter wear sweatpants and a hoodie to a family dinner at a restaurant, even though Mom would find this dress inappropriate, the court would consider this a quibble. Even if Mom takes the kids to Wednesday night youth Bible study, but Dad doesn’t take them to Sunday church services, this is each parent’s prerogative. Diana Park of Scary Mommy claims that this “you do you” approach to co-parenting can help prevent conflict. If she wanted to, she could be angry about her ex-husband’s approach to parenting, she could (he is the stricter parent about some issues, while she is stricter about others), but life is too short. Instead, she just lives by her rules and enjoys parenting time her own way, while affording her ex the same freedom with his parenting time.
There are some issues that you shouldn’t just let go. If your ex badmouths you to your children, whether about parenting or anything else, this is a serious problem. Likewise, if your ex endangers your children’s physical safety, you should go back to court. If you consider your ex-spouse’s disciplinary methods emotionally abusive (for example, name calling or public shaming), it is worth talking to your lawyer.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
A San Jose child custody & visitation lawyer can help you draft a parenting plan that will allow for a stress-free co-parenting relationship. Contact Foster Hsu for help with your case.