Rearing a child is hugely rewarding — but it isn’t easy. Every parent struggles with the decisions they have to make. That struggle can be compounded, however, when a parent is divorced and you and your ex-spouse aren’t on the same page about your parenting plans.
If you’re in the process of developing a custody schedule and parenting plan with your ex, the best way to avoid a big problem down the line is to anticipate potential disagreements now — before the situation turns critical (and gets heated).
Here are some of the issues you may want to address in your parenting plan:
- Medical care, including whether to use traditional medicine or homeopathic treatments most of the time, whether to vaccinate or not
- Mental health treatments, including the use of medication for behavioral problems or ADHD
- School issues, including whether it’s appropriate to homeschool, “unschool” or use an online school for the kids
- Extracurricular activities, including gifted-challenge programs, band, choir, dance classes and other time-intensive things that may cut into parenting time or put an unusual burden on the other parent
- Religious instruction, including what religion the children are to be raised in (if at all) and how much freedom of choice or exploration the child should have in that area
- Value issues, including gender expectations for boys and girls and what kind of social groups the child can join
- Issues regarding modern electronics, e.g., when the child is old enough to have a phone and what sort of access they can have to the internet, gaming devices and television
- Dietary issues, especially if one of you believes in a special diet like veganism or the child has food allergies that are important to consider
While these aren’t the only issues that crop up between divorced parents, they are some of the ones that tend to provoke the strongest emotions. Experienced advice with your child custody agreement can help you figure out a workable solution when you disagree.