As a California parent who wants what is best for his or her children, you understood from the start that you and your spouse would have to discuss many topics and formulate terms of agreement regarding child-related issues in your divorce. Ending a marriage doesn’t mean that you are negating your responsibilities as a parent, nor that you are surrendering your rights.
If both of you are willing to cooperate and compromise for your kids’ sake, the future may look bright. The last thing you want is to become entangled in a child custody dispute, which is why it’s wise to set boundaries from the start.
Child custody issues are a lot less stressful when there are boundaries
Divorce can be messy, especially if your relationship with your ex is contentious. Agreeing to certain boundaries as part of your child custody plan helps minimize stress. It also ensures that both parents are on the same page regarding expectations, responsibilities and communication. Confusion, misunderstanding and angry outbursts will be far less likely to occur when clear rules and boundaries are set in writing.
Boundaries are especially helpful if your former spouse is a narcissist or is emotionally immature. For example, you can set a boundary stating that you will immediately end a phone call with your ex if he or she starts shouting at you. You can also “draw a line” regarding personal topics, meaning that you can restrict your communication to issues directly relevant to your children — cut the small talk. Such boundaries help you maintain a business-like manner while protecting your privacy.
Parenting methods are not open for criticism with boundaries in place
Another boundary that helps prevent child custody disputes is to agree that each parent’s methods and parenting style is his or her private business and not up for discussion. You don’t have to like the way your ex parents and vice versa, but you both must respect each other’s right to run your own households as you see fit. If you set a boundary in writing, you don’t have to worry about your co-parent questioning your methods or criticizing your parenting style.
What if someone breaks the boundaries?
You can set all the boundaries you like, but they’re only effective if both parents adhere to the terms of agreement. If your ex is disregarding the agreed-upon terms of your child custody plan, you can determine the best course of action to resolve the problem. This may include returning to court or filing a motion to modify the court order.
With respectful attitudes and a willingness to work as a team, you can make divorce as painless as possible. You can also help your children adapt to the child custody plan that you and a California family court have determined is in their best interest.