Raising kids is always a challenge—even happily married couples won’t see eye-to-eye on everything. But you don’t have to go to court when you and your ex disagree on child-related issues. In fact, the court system would rather you work out a solution without their help.
Co-parenting debates clog up the judicial system and prevent judges from quickly trying more important cases. As a result, alternative conflict resolution strategies are popping up around the globe to help co-parents better settle disputes. Below, we share critical information and tips for resolving differences and staying out of court.
Even the most peaceful of court proceedings follow a process of making applications, attending hearings, and waiting for a ruling. All are costly and slow. In the end, the judge may recommend you and your co-parent work it out between yourselves in a settlement conference anyway.
Looking at your situation from a judge’s point of view can help you avoid lengthy and expensive court processes. Consider the following statements from a judge’s standpoint when trying to reach an agreement regarding your children with your ex:
You don’t have to run every decision by your co-parent. You’re in charge of minor decisions involving daily care while your child is in your custody. You’re free to make the following decisions on your own when it’s your turn to care for your children:
✔ What your kids wear
✔ What your kids eat
✔ How your kids spend their free time
✔ Attendance at after-school programs or events
✔ Child care
✔ Your child’s hygiene
✔ TV, cellphone, and electronics usage
A few decisions fall somewhere in between. You must tell your co-parent about the following, but you don’t need their approval for:
✓ Emergency medical treatment for your child
✓ A change of address or living situation that does not affect your child’s school
Stop! Get your co-parent’s approval first before planning any of the following:
✕ A move to another area of the country or world
✕ A move that will change your child’s school
✕ Keeping your child out of school when they aren’t sick
✕ A change in living and contact arrangements during holidays
✕ Letting your child watch a movie rated above their age range
✕ Planning medical or dental treatments that go beyond routine check-ups
✕ Discontinuing your child’s prescribed medication
✕ Changing your child’s surname
The court system prefers you make decisions with your co-parent instead of leaving them in the hands of a judge. But you don’t have to do it alone. You likely have alternative solutions in your local area at little to no cost to you.
Co-parenting disputes largely revolve around custody arrangements and parent responsibilities, including child support payments. Combine these dilemmas with the fact that many divorced couples have difficulty communicating, and you have a recipe for controversy.
Co-parenting is much easier with a co-parenting app. These tools help you create and keep messages to your co-parent regarding all the regular must-share information.
Choose a co-parenting expense tracker with money exchanging and recording capabilities. Then, you and your co-parent will have even less opportunity for conflict.
You and your co-parent must work together to keep disputes out of court. You’ll enjoy more time with your kids and healthier finances using the tools and programs designed to help the divorced family.