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3 common causes of disputes when parents share custody

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Divorce

Shared custody or co-parenting arrangements are commonplace when parents divorce in Massachusetts. The adults both have a right to spend time with the children and to influence their upbringing. Unfortunately, trying to share the parenting time and parental authority can lead to stressful disputes between the co-parents. Conflicts between parents have a tendency to spill over and impact the children. Bad moods, loud arguments and resentful comments can do a lot of damage.

Parents who settle certain matters ahead of time when establishing their parenting plans may have less to argue about as they co-parent in the future. The following are some of the most common sources of co-parenting conflicts that can benefit from expectations-setting efforts proactively.

Discipline and academic performance

Parents tend to disagree with one another about what kind of discipline is necessary and what standards they should enforce for their children. One parent may feel very strongly about certain academic expectations, while the other may have a more laissez-faire parenting approach. Attempts at discipline can also backfire if both parents don’t apply the same rules at their houses. Negotiating standard expectations and disciplinary rules can help co-parents avoid conflicts when issues inevitably arise with their children.

Parenting time adjustments

No matter how careful adults are when establishing a parenting schedule, they inevitably need to make some adjustments with little forewarning. One parent may end up working overtime all weekend, or children could have surprise extracurricular obligations. Parents who work cooperatively to reschedule any missed parenting time can avoid the hostility that often develops when one parent feels like the other prevents them from spending time with the children.

Social rules

Is there an age after which the children can spend the night at a friend’s house? At what point do the parents agree to allow the children to join social media platforms or start dating? As with disciplinary matters, having clear family standards for social conduct including friendships and romantic relationships can prevent parenting conflicts. Parents are less likely to fall victim to manipulation attempts by teenagers if they already have rules in place about parties, curfews and other social experiences.

Parents who take the time to address known sources of conflict in their parenting plans can set themselves up for a more peaceful shared custody arrangement. Developing a positive and cooperative approach to co-parenting may benefit the entire family unit.

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