If sharing custody with an ex is a new experience, it may be difficult to know the boundaries at first. Both parents may have emotions about dividing parenting time with a former partner. However, Minnesota family courts generally assume it is in the best interests of the child for parents to have balanced time with the child. In order for child custody to work successfully, both parents often need to set ground rules that benefit the child.
Complying with a parenting plan is not only about obeying a court order. It is also about respecting the other parent for the sake of the child. This is not always easy, especially if the parents still have hard feelings toward one another. The following are common practices that can make shared custody difficult and confusing for a child:
- Putting their own convenience over the needs of the child
- Asking the child to choose which parent the child would prefer to live with or whether he or she want to go with the other parent for court-ordered custody
- Stirring feelings of guilt in the child for wanting to spend time with the other parent or enjoying their time together
- Denying the child adequate and quality time with the other parent
- Refusing to communicate with each other about what is best for the child
As difficult as it may be for a Minnesota parent to say goodbye on the other parent’s days for child custody, resisting the urge to impose those feelings on the child is critical. Studies show that children with solid bonds with both parents, even after a breakup, tend to grow into happier and more stable adults. Even parents who still harbor negative feelings toward each other can agree on a positive co-parenting experience for their child.