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When Decisions Are Not Your Call During a Divorce

Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. posted in Divorce on Thursday, June 12, 2014.

By Allison Schreiber Lee

I often have to counsel people about compromise- when to stop fighting, when to stand your ground. I have to remind former spouses that they need to put their anger and hurt aside and take a step back before responding to a request to switch weekends or sign kids up for activities or decide which school is best. But one thing it is often difficult to give advice about is when a decision is none of your business or simply not your call.

Divorce puts people who were married and therefore had to make joint decisions about everything down to the grocery list in the new and often uncomfortable position of having to make some decisions about the children jointly with their former partner, while having to stand on the sidelines for other decisions. While the protective parent in you wants to figure out how you can decide who your children get to be around when they are with your ex-spouse, the answer is mostly: you can’t. Because unless you have some evidence of abuse or neglect, you just have to trust that the other parent is going to do the right thing by your children. And that trust may be missing currently or may have vanished long ago.

The best thing to do is to wait, to see if there is anything you need to be concerned about. You need to put suspicion aside. You need to realize that you are limited in your actions. You need to be careful about what words you throw out. Co-parenting is not easy, but it is easier if you know there is only so much you can control. Making demands may be met with a cold stare, while making your concerns known may open a dialogue. Do the best you can to communicate your concerns and then step back and take note. Watching and listening without preconception will allow the truth to come forward – either allaying your concerns or letting you know you need to take further action. Talking with an attorney about these issues can make clear which path you should take.


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Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee is a seasoned trial attorney and has been lead counsel in more than 40 jury trials. In 2011, Ms. Schreiber Lee was co-lead counsel in one of the longest jury trials in the history of the City of St. Louis. Ms. Lee has also tried more than 100 non-jury trials to verdict, including representation in divorce and modification hearings.

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