I Share Custody With my ex, But They’re a Really Bad Parent! (Pt 3)

Parent and child watching sunrise

Hey there, thanks for joining us for the wrap up of this discussion about co-parenting with an ex who doesn’t share any of your values when it comes to raising kids. It can be very challenging for parents here in Oakland County, but as we pointed out in the previous article, there are options available to you. Things like choosing how you express an idea to your ex, and being careful with your words so you don’t sound accusatory can both help. However, even if you are able to get sole custody, doesn’t mean you can cut your ex out completely.

You may get primary physical custody, but it doesn’t mean your ex is excluded!

Sometimes, when joint physical custody isn’t an option for a divorcing couple, the court usually prefers to award joint legal custody. For those of you who aren’t sure what the difference is, physical custody refers to where the child lives, while legal custody means the ability to make decisions made about the child’s upbringing. Things like religious studies, medical care, educational choices, and even sometimes discipline methods have to be agreed on by both of the parents, even although one parent provides most, or all of the care.

Divorced parents who have joint legal custody are both legally allowed to receive copies of their child’s medical records, school report cards, and current photographs. They’re also both allowed to show up at parent/teacher conferences, sports games, and any school programs that parents are invited to participate in or attend. So even if you have primary physical custody of your child, your ex will likely still have a say in how they’re raised. It’s important to remember that, because being the primary caregiver doesn’t always mean you get to make all the choices about how your child is raised!

Separate real risks from disagreements over parenting styles

Differing views on bedtimes, screen time allowances, and how much candy a kid can eat can be annoying, but they’re not reasons to call the cops or CPS. (Never, ever call CPS or the police on the other parent unless there is a serious reason to do so. We have family court judges that can handle routine disagreements.) However, if your concerns about the way your ex parents are tied to real concerns for your child’s health or safety, we recommend you discuss that with your attorney before doing anything else. And it doesn’t have to be only extreme cases of child abuse or neglect that should be cause or concern for the discussion with your lawyer.

For example, allowing a very young child to watch R rated horror films, resulting in nightmares, lack of sleep and anxiety could be considered mental or emotional abuse. If you ex is making parenting choices that are putting your child’s mental health at risk, your concerns might be grounds for changes in custody arrangements. In more severe cases, where you believe your child is genuinely being neglected or abused, call your local police here in Oakland County, and let your family law attorney know what steps you’ve taken so they can help protect you from any blowback from your ex. And yes, there is almost always blowback from calling CPS or the police on the other parent. Unless there’s a real, genuine emergency, your first call should always be to your family law attorney.

Co-parenting is hard, but you can make it work for you.

There’s a lot of info out there on how to co-parent successfully when you and your ex don’t see eye-to-eye. But one of the greatest tools you have available to you in your post-divorce parenting tool kit is a good, experienced family law attorney. Whether you live in Novi, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Bloomfield or Rochester, co-parenting is easier when you have a skilled and experienced family law attorney on your side. So call (248) 479-6200 today and discuss your situation with a compassionate lawyer here at The Kronzek Firm. We’re available 24/7 to help you protect your children, and your parenting rights in Oakland County, Macomb County and Livingston County. We’ve been at this for 25 years. We can help you.