Getting a Divorce? Take These Steps for the Sake of the Children
There are a lot of things we do for children that we wouldn’t ordinarily do for ourselves. This is especially true in cases of divorce. When there is a particularly ugly split, the children suffer the most. All too often, parents fight in such a way that the child is caught in the middle. Regardless of the legal settlement, the child almost always loses. This is why adults have to look beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of what is best for the child.
In Australia, the question of rights for unmarried parents comes down to the best interest of the child. Whether or not the marriage lasts, the responsibility to the child always does. That responsibility is more easily handled when both parents can work together
It is not always easy to work closely with someone with whom you are no longer married, especially if there is another significant person in your life. Many divorces happen where no one is at fault. It was an unmanageable and unsalvageable arrangement. You come to an amicable agreement to go your separate ways. But when a child is involved, each party must continue to work together for the good of the child. Even with your separate lives, these are some of the things upon which you both need to agree:
Healthcare and Best Practices
You believe your child needs to brush after every meal and snack. Your ex believes twice a day is okay regardless of how many meals and snacks are eaten throughout the day. A court does not need to legislate this. But the child will get mixed messages if the rules change depending on who’s weekend it is.
For something like thumb sucking in younger children, both parents can agree on a resource like StopThumbSucking.org for the most up to date information on techniques. Parents need to be on the same page because the habit will likely last longer if the same message is not being reinforced by both parents.
You will also have to settle issues such as insurance. In the case of an accident, who pays the medical bill? Make sure you bring this question up with your attorney so that it is clear whether both parents need to have separate coverage for the child. Both parents also need to be clear on things like medical conditions, allergies, vaccinations, and the like. When it comes to raising a child separately, the health and wellbeing of the child has to be coordinated between both parents.
It’s okay if one parent uses Android and the other uses iOS. But both need to use the same parental controls. Learn how to use parental controls for Android and iOS. The most secure phone in the world means nothing if you don’t have enforceable limits on how your kids interact with it.
You will sew the seeds of confusion and rebellion if one parent limits screen time and the other has no limits. One parent allows only PG-rated movies and TV shows while the other makes no attempt to monitor anything. These are the types of things you would have had to agree on had you chosen to keep the marriage together. Splitting up is not an excuse to leave your child in limbo on these and other matters of parental supervision. Thankfully, tech companies make it pretty easy to adopt the same parental controls across platforms.
If one parent is a Muslim and the other an atheist, it can create a serious rift in the relationship with regard to the kids. A change of religious views can easily become the catalyst for divorce in the first place. Even so, you have to decide on a plan of action. You might not be able to compel one parent to bring a child to church when it goes against their conscience. It is also not helpful to carry on religious debates via the child. There are no easy answers. But for the sake of the child, both parents need to hammer out a strategy for religious differences that keeps the mental health of the child the priority.
Divorce is hard even when it is amicable. It is exponentially harder when children are involved. Make it easier on the children by agreeing on health matters, parental controls, and religious sensibilities when raising children separately.
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