Where the kids are concerned, lifestyle differences between you and your ex-spouse can lead to complications in your custody plan. While some disputes are relatively minor (like whether bedtime is strictly at 9 p.m. or a lot looser), other differences can be much more serious (like whether or not a child should be vaccinated). Here’s what you need to know.
What kind of lifestyle differences can complicate a custody dispute?
Generally speaking, the court isn’t going to care if your ex-spouse doesn’t put the kids to bed until 10 p.m. (even if it is a school night). However, some issues can directly affect the safety and well-being of a child, including:
- When a child should be on a gluten-free diet or has a significant food allergy and one parent thinks that the whole “gluten-free” issue is a fad or refuses to properly restrict the child’s diet
- One parent is against vaccinations and believes they are dangerous, while the other parent believes they are absolutely necessary for protection against preventable disease
- One parent (possibly with a step-parent involved) believes in using a family bed and the other thinks that the child needs more privacy or just opposes family bed
- One parent believes that the child should be prohibited from almost all use of electronics and the other thinks that doing so will impair the child’s ability to function well in the modern world
- One parent is adamant that the children should be raised vegan, while the other thinks that the children aren’t getting a proper diet that way
- One parent decides that corporal punishment is okay and the other parent is vehemently opposed
When is a lifestyle difference worth fighting over?
If you think that your child could be physically, emotionally or socially harmed due to your ex-spouse’s lifestyle choices, you may need to address the issue in the parenting plan. Compromises are always good, but they’re not always possible when an issue is really important and your child’s safety is at stake.