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Differing parenting styles can make custody decisions tough

If you are in the throes of divorce, setting up your child custody arrangements can seem like it's a nightmare that never ends. After all, if you were able to agree with your spouse on important issues like how to raise the kids, you might not have wound up in divorce court to begin with.

But differing parenting styles can definitely cause havoc in your plans to draw up a workable agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Perhaps your husband is a stickler for discipline and thinks that the kids get away with murder when they are with you. You may counter that your ex is far too strict and is at risk of alienating your pre-teen who just wants to hang around the house playing Fortnite. What's the harm?

But sometimes your parenting differences may be about really important matters like whether to start your hyperactive child on some ADHD meds or will your 13-year-old son be getting a bar mitzvah or confirmed by a Catholic priest.

While it will generally not matter much in the big picture whether your son does a day's worth of chores during spring break vacation or goes marauding on Fortnite, serious decisions over medication or religious persuasion can have a lasting effect on the trajectory of your child's life.

Your guiding principle in these major decisions — and that of your child's other parent — should always be what is the best interests of the child(ren). With that being said, there are typically no hard and fast right answers. Both positions of the parents can be made from a place of love and caring, yet a decision must be reached.

If you are unable to reach accord on your own, the California family law courts will wind up being the ultimate arbiter on your parenting decisions for your children.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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