The following was originally posted on Patch.com by Lisa G. Moore as part of a weekly series written by the attorneys of Paule, Camazine and Blumenthal, P.C. called From the Lawyer’s Desk. If you have any areas of the law that you would like discussed as part of that series, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though the joys of the marriage might be over, the joys of co-parenting never really stop.
Your wife feeds your kids fast food, hot dogs and Oreos without batting an eye. You’re a strict vegan – and when your kids spend time with you they live your lifestyle – eating only fresh, organic fruits and veggies, and abstaining from eating anything that used to have a face.
While you’re no longer married, you still have an ongoing relationship with your ex-spouse, and you will have to learn to co-parent with this person for many years to come.
So how do you handle your rage (and concern) that comes with the sugar highs (and lows) of your joint custody agreement?
Unless your child has a diagnosed medical condition that requires a special diet, then this might not be an appropriate battle. For many former couples, happily co-parenting means focusing on the things you can control. Fighting over things like food, bedtime, clothing, and other highly “discretionary” choices can often be extremely time-consuming and expensive legal battles to wage with your ex. And because every parent has the right to raise his or her children differently, and make those discretionary choices during his or her custody time, these aren’t battles that are easily won. This is the time to learn to let go.
What makes more sense is to focus on your own parenting skills and values during the time when you are with your children. If teaching your children about organic food is important to you – then this is something you should do during your custody time. They are paying attention, and this is your opportunity to instill those messages that are significant to you.
In the words of Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
Only an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who practices extensively with families in high conflict and highly emotional cases can successfully navigate the ups and downs of the divorce process–and can help you before, during, and after you file for divorce. The attorneys at Paule, Camazine and Blumenthal have the extensive experience needed to steer you through the difficult process of successfully co-parenting.