Whenever two people are making childcare decisions without living under the same roof, there are going to be challenges. Kids will try to “play” one parent against the other even when parents live together. When parents live in separate domiciles, “dividing and conquering” is much easier and oftentimes effective. Kids may try to capitalize on the parents’ feelings of guilt for divorcing and use it against them -- unless parents have an effective co-parenting plan.
- Adults have to agree not to compete. Human nature will make both parents want to be the better or the favored parent. Agreeing not to compete presents a united front to the child, which says that you respect one another and want to do what is best for the child, not simply what the child wants you to do.
- Parents must realize the child is not their new best friend. Parents will sometimes want to talk to their child about the things they used to talk over with their spouse. Do not speak to your child about adult matters. Your ex should not hear that you are discussing concerns regarding finances, dating, etc. with the child. This can lead to custody modifications, mandatory counseling and other consequences.
- Adults must not talk about their ex's shortcomings to their child. Pointing out all the ways that your ex is a bad person or bad parent, won't necessarily make the child think highly of you either. In fact, it has been shown that this tends to alienate the child from the complaining parent. Foster a positive relationship between your child and your ex and you will reap the benefits for your efforts for many years to come.
- Adults must be flexible. Grandparents come into town to visit, an aunt is having a family get-together…things happen. Life is more complicated after divorce. People live farther away. Give a little on the time spent for family gathering and impromptu visits, and ask for the same. Children need to be around the entire family, the way they'd always been. Kids shouldn't feel cutoff simply because mom and dad aren't together anymore.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced Sacramento Family Law Attorney Hal Bartholomew can help you navigate your divorce and child custody issues with respect and compassion. Contact Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP today for knowledgeable and respectful representation. Call us at (916) 455-5200 or email us at info@DivorceWithRespect.com