Dealing with custody during a divorce can be one of the most heart-wrenching parts of the entire process. Many parents have never gone a day without seeing their children, and now suddenly they have to turn them over for days at a time to be with the other parent. It is natural to be worried and concerned, even when the child is with his or her own parent. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you could even be terrified at the thought. The following are some things to keep in mind when you are dealing with your own feelings about your child being with the other parent:
Is the Child Being Cared for Properly?
One of the biggest concerns for any parent is whether or not the child is being cared for properly when not in his or her custody. The thing you need to remember, though, is that your definition of proper and that of the other parent may vary somewhat.
When it comes to proper care of the child, the parent's responsibility is to ensure the child's physical and mental needs are met appropriately. The bare minimum includes a happy, loving home that is safe with space dedicated to the child. There should be a calm and loving atmosphere with no negative or disparaging remark of the other parent. The child should be fed and clothed properly and supervised in all manners.
Outside of that, each parent may add to the care of the child in his or her own way as needed. One parent may not agree with how the other is caring for the child. However, if there are no negative impacts on the child, there is little you can do to control how the other parent raises the child when he or she has custody.
Do You Have Any Say in What Happens in the Other Parent's Home?
The bottom line is you have no say in what the other parent chooses to do in his or her home with regard to what the child eats or how small disciplinary issues are handled. As long as the child is not being fed anything that the parent knows he or she is allergic to and the child is properly dressed based on current weather conditions, there is little you can do to change it.
For instance, if you prefer your child to be on a vegan diet, you are free to feed the child that way in your own home. However, you are not allowed to force the other parent to feed the child in that way unless it is medically prescribed by the child's doctor. The courts will likely agree that both parents are of sound mind to make their own decisions for the child when he or she is in the other parent's custody.
Speak to a divorce lawyer for more information.