We have come to know many divorced parents who feel as if they are trapped in co-parenting relationship with a difficult person. The other parent may be stubborn, demanding, irresponsible and spiteful. It may feel like life would be so much easier without him (or her) as a parent.
So why not seek sole custody of the child?
We empathize with parents who struggle with a difficult co-parent, but there are a number of issues that courts will generally stay away from. Essentially, family court judges will expect parents to work together to resolve these problems. This post will identify a few.
New beaus around your child – Unless the person has definite and specific issues pertaining to a child’s welfare, courts will generally stay away from this issue. If a new boyfriend (or girlfriend) has a shady past (i.e. a criminal record), it probably will not be relevant unless it has to do with abusing children.
Different rules in your ex’s home – Ideally, rules for children should be uniform between parents’ homes, but they normally are not. While it may be truly vexing to have to “de-program” your kids after they return from your ex’s home, the court is unlikely to entertain a motion to compel him (or her) to parent like you do. So if your ex allows children to stay up as late as they want (while you have specific bed times), it may be something you have to life with.
Lack of entertainment – Many parents are guilty of relying on television and movies as babysitters, and we are accustomed to hearing stories about how one parent hardly interacts with the children during their parenting time. While you may hate how the kids are not entertained or engaged by the other parent, a court is not likely to force him (or her) to interact with them.
Nevertheless, there are situations where the court can intervene, and we will address them in our next post.