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Establishing house rules for children after a divorce

Children of parents in Phoenix who are going through a divorce have a lot to adjust to, and part of what they must come to terms with if their parents share custody is having two homes - one with one parent, one with the other. While each parent wants to see that their child is happy and thriving, they each might have different ideas about how to accomplish that. Therefore, it sometimes happens that the rules at one parent's house are not the same as the rules at the other parent's house.

This situation can be confusing for the child, and could even cause distress. Children need stability, especially after a major life event, such as a divorce. However, there are things parents can do to try to see eye-to-eye on what the rules should be in each household.

In a perfect world, the parents would be able to meet face-to-face and hash out what rules they expect the child to follow. Sometimes, if the child is old enough, including the child in on such a meeting might help. Parents should keep in mind the child's best interests. These rules are meant to promote the wellbeing of the child, not necessarily the parent's own interests.

Of course, after a divorce, parents may have a hard time overcoming their disagreements. When this happens, they might want to consider mediation. A mediator is a neutral third party that facilitates the conversation between the parents and can offer suggestions. Parents do not even need to be in the same room as one another -- the mediator can serve as a go-between. Parents can also choose to have their attorneys with them during mediation if they wish.

Finally, there is always the option of going to court. While it is often beneficial for parents to work out differences on house rules on their own, in the end a child needs stability. So, if they must, parents can seek a court order. Keep in mind, however, that once the matter goes before a judge, the judge has ultimate say in the outcome, and each party will be bound to it.

When parents share custody, they may have two very different ideas about how to raise their child. However, what a child needs in the end is stability. Therefore, parents should do whatever it takes to ensure the rules at each house are consistent, for the sake of the child.

Source: Huffington Post, "5 Ways Divorced Parents Can Provide Constancy For Their Children When There Are Two Sets Of 'House Rules'," Steve Mindel, Sept. 5, 2017

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