Making Post-Divorce Parenting Decisions

  • As a custodial parent, making minor decisions can feel major. As a noncustodial parent, minor decisions can make you feel like you're missing out.
  • Communication and co-parenting is the most effective way of staying in the loop with what's going on in your child's life.
  • Medical decision making requires knowing specifics to the custody arrangement.

After a divorce, you probably still harbor many negative feelings toward your ex-spouse and rightfully so. There are a number of events that could have occurred to create the animosity, and they also may harbor ill will toward you, as well.

However, the children in the middle of this conflict are not frozen in time. They still have to go through their routine and still require decisions made for them, with their best interests in mind. They still require permission slips for field trips to be signed and still need their lunches made before they go to school each day.

Custodial and noncustodial concerns

Given the fact that specific parenting decisions, such as what school a child goes to, may be wrapped up in the parenting plan in the divorce decree, it can be challenging for the custodial parent to make minor decisions without facing questions.

If you are not the custodial parent, minor decisions can often feel major. With all of the time spent away from your child, the slightest change in their daily routine can make a noncustodial parent feel like they are missing out on parts of their child’s life.

Major and minor decisions

When gauging what decisions are major or minor, it is important to maintain perspective. For example, if a child comes home and asks the custodial parent to sign a permission slip, it is not a slight on the noncustodial parent. The child is prioritizing convenience and proximity at this time.

However, it is equally important to monitor how often these types of events take place. Maintaining communication with your child can be difficult when it is not your parenting time, but it is important to always try. Send them a message or a text just to check in with them and make sure to always make them feel like you have an interest in their daily life.

Depending on a child’s access to technology and phones, they may not be able to send a message through social media or text, but that does not mean that you stop showing an interest in your child’s life.

Co-parenting and sharing information

It simply means that you will have to try in other ways. One of the most effective ways of doing so is communicating with your co-parent. As challenging as it may be at times, it is too important for the overall well-being of your shared child to not share information and let one another know what is going on in a child’s life.

The information sharing technique among co-parents is not just for the sake of the child, but can be beneficial for the parents also. Even when two parents are married, there are parenting tasks that some parents would prefer that the other would take on and vice versa. This type of situation is the same, even with divorced co-parents.

This will give you, as a noncustodial parent, the ins and outs of a child’s daily life. Whether it is during your parenting time or outside of it, it establishes a better line of communication with your co-parent and helps all parties move on from the dysfunction and unhappiness that may have been present during the divorce experience.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Obstacles and medical decisions

There are many obstacles that can come up during your pursuit of becoming more integral to the decisions that affect your child. Many divorced parents with custody can often feel empowered by the idea that they won custody. This leaves them making unilateral decisions without considering your feelings or the feelings of your shared child.

This can be especially difficult when those decisions involve a child’s physical well-being. If a parent has sole legal custody of a child, then they have full control over the medical decisions being made, according to Cordell & Cordell attorneys. However, if the parents have joint legal custody, then aspects of a child’s life, such as educational decisions or medical decisions, are handled, according to the guidelines created in the parenting plan.

Continued communication

If you have any doubt as to whether or not a decision is serious enough to consult your co-parent, consult them. They would rather have you ask them something unimportant than miss out on offering their input on something major.

For your child’s sake, it is vital to put aside any history, any emotions, and any animosity that you may feel toward your co-parent. Whether the decisions under the microscope are as small as which parent is going to drive the child to soccer practice or as big as a serious medical decision, both parents need to realize the value in communication and respecting one another’s place in their shared child’s life.

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