Shared custody arrangements put a lot of pressure on families. Parents have to abide by a very strict schedule and negotiate any alterations to that schedule ahead of time. They need to communicate with one another and keep the focus on children whenever possible. The children have to deal with frequent transitions and the potential for conflict.
Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for those who have ended their romantic relationships to keep a healthy and positive attitude toward one another after they start living in separate houses or file for divorce. Co-parenting conflicts are common issues, and some issues strain shared custody arrangements more frequently than others. These are some of the top co-parenting conflicts that can lead to major custody disputes if they aren’t addressed proactively.
1. Deviations from the schedule
Maybe one parent constantly tries to find excuses to cancel the other’s time with the children. Perhaps one parent consistently cancels their weekend parenting sessions, leaving the other scrambling for childcare and dealing with disappointed, emotional children. Parents who frequently deviate from the rules set in their parenting plan settings may endure more conflict and might occasionally need to go back to court to modify their custody orders so that they don’t have to keep making changes.
2. Disagreements about school or discipline
One of the most challenging aspects of parenting is trying to get the best out of the children in the family. It can be even harder to push children to succeed when they live in two separate households with slightly different schedules and standards. Parents will have an easier time cooperating with one another and avoiding conflict with their children if they negotiate specific disciplinary standards and educational expectations for their children ahead of time and enforce them consistently at both households.
3. Issues with new romantic partners
Few things make parents as angry and jealous as their former partner introducing the children to a new love interest. In some cases, there may be concerns about the children’s safety if a new boyfriend or girlfriend has a criminal record or a history of drug abuse. Other times, there may be concerns about the emotional or social consequences of having a parent’s new love interest providing child care. Some parents have special clauses in their parenting plans to prevent their co-parent from using a new boyfriend or girlfriend as a babysitter.
Those who identify and plan ahead for co-parenting challenges can more effectively protect their families. Adding thoughtful terms to a parenting plan with the assistance of an experienced legal professional and understanding the rules that influence shared custody scenarios can help those who want to do right by their children as their family changes.