When children in California have two different sets of rules to abide by, they may constantly feel on guard to avoid getting in trouble. It would be especially difficult to find common ground if the two sets of rules contradicted each other. This can be precisely what children experience when divorced parents share custody and have two separate versions of house rules.
If the rules of the two houses contradict each other too much, it can be downright confusing for children to keep up with. The most important thing that children need is a semblance of order, constancy, structure, and predictability. In contentious divorces, even the rules parents make for their children can become a battleground, and the same spite that comes out in struggles over who gets what can emerge in laying down the law at home.
Sitting down with one’s ex and agreeing on a basic framework can help ensure that the rules are consistent enough for the children to navigate. Taking a parenting class can help one or both parents learn what children need and how to compromise for their sake. Third-party mediation is another possible solution, but only insofar as the mediator’s decision is respected by both sides. If none of these options work, a judge can make a ruling that is binding and that both parties must abide by or face legal consequences.
The successful litigation of a divorce involving children requires specialized expertise. A family law attorney may be able to advise his or her client and represent them in child custody hearings and defend the client’s rights to act in the best interests of their children. Post-divorce modification can alter certain aspects of the divorce judgement, including visitation, child support and spousal support.