When Divorced Parents Disagree
When parents divorce, they might be under the impression that they no longer must agree with their former spouse. This is very far from the truth. Parents who share children must often make decisions that affect their child’s welfare — topics on which the spouses may vehemently disagree. It is helpful to anticipate some of these disagreements when forming a parenting plan. When issues arise that you are not able to resolve, you might consider returning to mediation.
Some common areas of parental controversy
Parents tend to dig their heels in around issues they feel strongly about for philosophical, sociological, religious and emotional reasons. Here are some areas that cause conflict among many divorced parents:
- Medical decisions: Cases involving divorced parents who disagree on the routine vaccination of their children have reached the Supreme Court in several states. Other areas of medical care that generate controversy include ritual circumcision, cosmetic surgery, abortion and orthodontics, psychiatric and ADHD medications. Heroic measures or surgery required in an emergency situation can be particularly problematic when a physician might act on the permission of the first parent to arrive at the scene.
- Schools: Parents choose schools for their children based on many factors, including location, reputation of the school district, demographic composition, cost, and philosophical orientation of the school. Some parents feel strongly about public over private education, while others shun the school system entirely. School choice can become further complicated when a child voices a strong preference of one type of school over another, adding another voice to an already potentially controversial topic.
- Religious practice: Parents who practiced different religions prior to marriage often find that their religious differences become more pronounced following a divorce. Most mental health professionals would agree that children feel loyalty to both parents, and are often uninterested in practicing any religion for fear of alienating one parent or the other.
- Relocation: Florida law requires any parent of a minor child to acquire permission of the child’s second parent when relocating more than 50 miles from the current place of residence. Whereas most divorced parents in Florida share parenting time at least to some extent, a relocating parent must adhere to a time-sharing plan, regardless of the distance between the two homes.
When parents are not able to reach an agreement on an issue that affects their child, a judge is likely to issue a decision based solely on the child’s best interest.
A family law attorney at the Fort Lauderdale offices of Sandra Bonfiglio, P. A. can help you resolve your differences and form a workable parenting plan during and after your divorce.