Sharing custody with your ex means giving up some degree of control over your children’s lives and schedules. You don’t have a say in what happens during your ex’s parenting time for the most part.
They could take the children to the opening day of a movie if that is how your parenting schedule works out despite you planning to do the same thing with the kids. They might feed your kids junk food, let them spend too much time on their mobile phones or otherwise deviate from what you believe would be best for the kids.
However, some of their actions might actually put your children at risk. Learning that someone who has a history of substance abuse or interpersonal violence will babysit your children could be a very frightening realization. Can you stop your ex from leaving your kids with their alcoholic mother or their new boyfriend who has been in and out of prison for years?
You could ask for the right of first refusal for parenting time
Typically, family law judges don’t impose restrictions on what one parent can do with the children just to placate the other. However, if there is evidence that a specific individual could pose a threat to your children, you could address your concerns in court or your parenting plan. Success in such claims often depends on having adequate evidence.
If you worry that a judge may not prevent a dangerous babysitter from being alone with your kids, then the best option may be to ask for the right of first refusal for parenting time. Anytime your ex has the children and will not be with them personally, they should give you the chance to take the kids during that time before they make arrangements for someone else to provide that care.
You could therefore effectively ensure that your kids don’t end up with a babysitter at all because you come to get them whenever your ex won’t be with them.
Realistic expectations will reduce co-parenting friction
While you may not like the idea of a new romantic partner or a former-in-law who mistreated you spending time with your children, those choices are ultimately in the control of your ex. There are times when it makes sense to speak up for the protection of your children, and there are times when you have to accept that something that is uncomfortable or unpleasant is outside of your control.
Understanding what you can and cannot do with your parenting plan can help you decide when you need to speak up on behalf of your children and when you need to let certain issues go.