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Avoiding dichotomy in shared parenting "house rules"

Even though Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes covers shared parenting as it relates to the best interests of the child, the reality of joint custody agreements is that some divorced parents tend to put their own interests ahead of their children's when it comes to house rules. In many cases, divorcing parents will project their bickering onto the rules they seek to impose on their young children.

When a marriage is irretrievably broken, former spouses will often fail to find common ground on many aspects of their lives, particularly in relation to co-parenting. Unfortunately, this failure tends to spill over into the lives of their children. From a developmental point of view, a shared custody agreement that involves a child going from one household to another is difficult enough. Putting up with different sets of rules imposed by parents who are not on the same parenting page could make the situation worse.

One parent sharing physical custody may wish to impose a strict 7:00 p.m. bedtime knowing that the other parent believes that children should go to bed when they feel like it. Although this is a rule that could be enforced by means of a court order, it is vital that both parents consider the repercussions that such a legal move insofar may have on the child.

Family law practitioners recommend that parents consider mediation, counseling and parenting classes that can help them make the right decisions with regard to house rules. If all else fails, the parents can go to court, but they might not be happy with a judge's ruling.

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 WAYS DIVORCED PARENTS CAN PROVIDE CONSTANCY FOR THEIR CHILDREN WHEN THERE ARE TWO SETS OF 'HOUSE RULES'", Steve Mindel, Sept. 5, 2017

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