When you filed for divorce, you may have wanted to achieve a settlement as swiftly as possible so you could leave your past marital problems behind and move on in life. Like all good parents in Georgia and beyond, one of your main priorities was to make sure you and your ex could work out a fair and agreeable child custody plan.
Especially if this is the first time you’ve ever co-parented after a divorce, you and your ex may encounter some hefty challenges as everyone adapts to their new lifestyles. Having obstacles arise in a co-parenting arrangement is not unusual. What matters most is how you react and what you do to resolve the issues at hand.
Parenting time is a common topic of dispute
Most Georgia family court judges would agree that kids fare best in divorce when they continue to have ample opportunities to spend time with both parents. It’s understandable that you might feel frustrated if your ex never spent time with the kids during marriage but now wants equal parenting time.
To avoid disputes, it’s best to write out clear terms of agreement and seek the court’s approval of your plan. When a parenting time schedule is in writing, it leaves little room for confusion or debate. Both parents must fully adhere to an existing court order, which means your ex can’t just show up on your doorstep saying he or she wants to take the kids for ice cream.
Is your ex using your kids as messengers?
Another post-divorce issue that can cause a lot of stress is co-parents using children to deliver messages to the other parent instead of corresponding directly between adults. If your ex tells your kids to thank you for the leftover casserole you sent along with them on a visit day, that’s one thing.
However, if he or she sends a message regarding child support or some other issue that is best kept between adults, it can be a real problem. To prevent this from happening, you can incorporate terms in your co-parenting agreement stating that certain issues must be communicated between parents only.
Does your ex have a say about your parenting style?
If your co-parent is the type of person who tries to control others, your post-divorce relationship might be stressful, especially if he or she keeps trying to control the way you discipline or interact with your kids. After divorce, provided there are no extenuating circumstances of possible detriment, what each of you does in his or her household is of no concern to the other.
Maybe you let your kids stay up later than your ex does when they are at your house. Perhaps, you allow them to have sleepovers at friends’ houses and your ex doesn’t like that. If your ex is accusing you of disregarding an existing court order, that’s one thing, but if he or she is speaking negatively about you to your kids or trying to tell you how to run your home, that’s another matter altogether.
Build a strong support network from the start
Divorce isn’t easy, especially when children are involved. You hopefully have close friends and family members who can encourage and support you and your children as you come to terms with your settlement and become used to a new family dynamic.
It’s also helpful to stay closely connected to people who are well-versed in child custody and child support laws in case you encounter a legal issue that you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own.