Coparenting after a divorce ideally involves communication between the parents on big issues as well as small ones. However, not all spouses have an amicable split and may experience difficulty working as co-parents even when each should know that it is best for the child.
There are a variety of situations in which a parent may get annoyed with their ex, but sometimes annoyance does not translate into willful interference. Below are some highlights of larger lists of questions or concerns involving custody and parenting plans that arise:
- I have always paid child support on time, but I don’t feel like I’m getting enough time with the kids. Should I withhold money and renegotiate the custody or parenting plan? It is never a good idea to willfully withhold support or ignore the terms of the divorce agreement. Also, parenting plans and custody are a different legal issue than child support. However, if you need to move for work, it may be possible to draft a modification if both sides agree.
- We have joint custody, but we always fight over issues revolving around religious matters, healthcare and education. Do I always have to consult them on these matters? To not consult them could be considered interference. It may be difficult to work together, but judges take a dim view of unilateral decision making contrary to court orders, and may perhaps even change the custody arrangement to punish this behavior. It is better to speak with the ex to find out why they are so combative about these issues. Perhaps this can lead to a better understanding. Mediation is another viable alternative for addressing the matter.
- I’ve had sole custody of our son, but now my husband wants him to move into his home. He has even offered our son a car if he does. What can I do? As boys get older, it may actually be healthy for them to spend more time around their father if the home environment is stable and loving. You may want to examine your own feelings on the issue and see if you are biased against the father. If you feel that the father is not capable of custodial parenting, tell your son and voice your concern in court. As a compromise, this may be a time to revisit the parenting plan to increase the amount of time spent with dad even if a move does not take place.
- I want to move the family out of state, but we have joint custody. Can I do this?
In most cases, the initial joint custody arrangement prevents parents from taking the child away from the other parent. A court order will likely be needed to change the arrangement. If the other parent is against the move, a relocation hearing can determine the matter. Valid reasons for moving include job relocation if you can’t find similar work locally or moving to where there is more family who can help raise the child, especially if the other parent has not been actively involved in the child’s life.
Each custody and parenting plan is unique
If there are issues with an ex-spouse, the first step is to talk to them about it. If you cannot come to an understanding, a consultation with a Board certified family law expert attorney can be helpful in reminding an uncooperative “co-parent” of the details of the agreement and may even clarify your own obligations if you have questions.