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Can your co-parent tell you what to do regarding your child?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2021 | Child Custody

Co-parenting is the process of jointly working to raise a child after a divorce. It is the most common arrangement, since most parents wind up sharing custody. If they both have legal custody, that means they can make decisions for the child.

But does the fact that your co-parent gets a voice mean that you have to listen to them? Can they tell you what to do, and do you have to go along with it? If you refuse, is that a violation of their rights?

You have to follow the court order

There are two sides to this. Legally, you do have to follow the court order. If it’s time to exchange custody, for instance, you can’t refuse just because your ex texted you to bring the kids over. You must do what the order tells you, whether or not you like it, or you would violate your ex’s rights.

That does not mean that everything has to be the same, though. For instance, maybe your ex doesn’t let the children watch TV and makes them go to bed at 8:00. You let them watch movies with you and stay up until 9:00. Your co-parent can complain and tell you to respect their rules, but this is not a legal issue. You do not have to have the same rules in your house as they have in theirs. Ignoring their request is not a violation of their rights.

Just from this example, you can see how things may grow contentious between the two of you. Make sure you are well aware of your legal rights.