It can be difficult for parents who have broken up or divorced to accept the reality of co-parenting or shared custody arrangements. It often requires quite some time for the parents to develop a functional relationship after the end of their romantic relationship.
However, most couples eventually find a new routine and dynamic that works for their families. Relying on the parenting plan to guide major decisions allows parents to take a lot of the emotion and conflict out of parenting choices. Still, there are still important decisions you will have to make that could lead to protracted disagreements with your ex.
What kinds of choices can pit parents against each other in a California shared custody situation?
Health care choices
Shared legal custody is as common as shared physical custody. If you and your ex both have parenting time with the children, then you likely share decision-making responsibility as well.
Typically, the best-case scenario for shared legal custody involves both parents agreeing about what is appropriate for the children regarding routine healthcare, immunizations and emergency medical treatments. However, parents may disagree about the right options.
If you support western medical treatments but your ex wants to employ homeopathic remedies when your child has strep throat, the two of you may fight bitterly about what is better for your children.
Will your children stay at the same school, or will they enroll in a private high school for better networking opportunities? Will you allow them to play any sports they want, or are there certain grades they need to obtain if they want to participate? Parents often have different priorities when it comes to the education of their children, which might lead to disagreements that affect the whole family.
When you disagree with your ex about a major choice regarding your children, the first step you need to take is to perform a thorough review of your parenting plan. You may have already put rules in place for this situation, such as giving one parent or the other the final say.
Occasionally, parents feel like they must go back to court to revisit the legal custody arrangements. They could ask a judge to make a ruling on a specific issue or simply request more authority in one area because it would be in the best interests of the children. Recognizing that parenting decisions can be a source of conflict may help you better prepare to share custody with your ex.