Minnesota parents who are ending their marriage will need to work out consistent household rules for their children. This can be important for children whose lives have been disrupted by the divorce. House rules should not become a battleground for parents who are trying to attack one another. There may be some rules that a parent is unwilling to compromise on, but knowing those ahead of time as well as where there might be flexibility can help when parents sit down to negotiate. They may also want to consider having older children participate in the conversation as well.
Parenting classes and mediation are two resources parents can draw on if they are struggling to reach an agreement on household rules. Parenting classes, which can be recommended by family law courts, attorneys or therapists, can help establish norms and also give parents a sense of the importance of establishing consistency. In mediation, a neutral third party trained in conflict resolution works with parents to reach an agreement.
Parents who cannot reach a compromise through any of these methods still have the option of going to court to resolve their differences. However, in most cases, parents should exhaust all possibilities before doing this because once in the courtroom, they will have no control over the judge's decision.
Divorce can be emotionally difficult, and few aspects will be as emotional as arrangements involving children. However, it is important for parents to focus on the best interests of the child and not their own preferences or feelings about each other. As with agreements about household rules, it may also be possible to work out a custody and visitation plan outside of court. Parents can have their respective attorneys in negotiation meetings, and they might be able to work out a plan that will suit their situation better than a judge's decision.