If you didn’t get along with your ex during your marriage, you will likely find things to disagree about after your divorce. Co-parenting will force you to frequently interact, and the chances are good that you won’t always agree on how to handle different parenting situations.
Thinking ahead to potential sources of conflict can help you and your ex be better co-parents after the end of your relationship. Addressing possible sources of conflict before they arise and having rules in place about how to handle a disagreement will make co-parenting easier.
What issues are likely to cause conflict between parents sharing custody?
Disagreements about timing
Especially right after a separation, it is common for parents to strongly disagree with the appropriate way to split parenting time. Any special events like birthdays or your child’s first basketball game can lead to new conflicts even after you create your initial parenting plan. Being realistic about what is fair for both of you and for the children is crucial when navigating a disagreement about your parenting time.
Different opinions about discipline
Has your child started acting out in school, as is common when parents divorce? Have they lied to you or broken household rules? Parents often disagree about how to discipline their children, but you will have to get on the same page to effectively discipline your children.
If you share legal custody, which is the right to make decisions about your children, then both of you have a say in the disciplinary practices that you employ for your children. Trying to agree ahead of time about certain rules for your kids will reduce the likelihood of disputes about discipline.
Different values regarding healthcare
What health care someone receives can have religious and political implications in the modern world. You and your ex might disagree strongly about issues like immunizations or whether your child needs to take ADHD medication. Disagreeing about the care that your children receive, especially if you shared decision-making authority, can delay crucial care and cause hard-to-resolve disputes.
If you think ahead about likely issues that will arise as you try to parent together, you and your ex can minimize the possibility of those conflicts straining your relationship or stressing out your children. Being realistic and proactive about the demands of sharing custody will make it easier for your whole family.