Many Missouri residents consider parenthood one of the most rewarding, exciting and challenging experiences in their lives. If you have kids in different age groups, life in your household is likely never dull, especially if you’re currently navigating the terrible twos or teenage years. If you recently got divorced, you may still be trying to find your “new normal,” which is definitely understandable and common among those who have gone through similar situations.
You are really trying to adapt to a new lifestyle in various ways. First, especially if you’re the custodial parent, you and your kids have to adjust to living together without your ex being under the same roof. In addition to transitioning into your new role as a single parent, you also have to adjust to your new way of interacting with someone you were once married to, which can feel quite awkward at times. You hopefully have a strong support network of family, friends and legal advocates to lend a helping hand if a problem arises.
Things you can and can’t control
You have no control over the way another person acts, including or, perhaps, especially your former spouse. However, something you can always control is your own reactions to the various situations that may arise as you move on in life and learn to raise your kids as a co-parent in separate households rather than a married couple.
If your ex keeps trying to push the buttons that evoke anger, frustration and contention in you, you can re-think your plan and determine a best course of action to resolve the problem, which may, in some circumstances, include reaching out for legal support.
New lifestyle, new rules
You may hear your kids saying things when they come home from visiting their other parent that you don’t necessarily like or agree with, such as statements that let you know your ex lets them stay up far past their usual bedtime or feeds them foods you don’t allow them to have at home. Some former spouses intentionally do such things to exert power and independence over their co-parents. Again, you must decide if it’s merely a personal issue or something to bring to the court’s attention.
Independence versus disobeying a court order
When the judge who issued your divorce decree approved or set the terms of your co-parenting plan, it became a legal document to which you and your ex must both adhere. While there are valid reasons to request modification, unless and until the court allows you to change the terms of your agreement, the existing court order stands. If your ex is undermining your parental rights, impeding your relationship with your children or refusing to adhere to your existing co-parenting agreement, you can take immediate steps to rectify the situation in court.