The good news: Many parents who split up get along very well when it comes to issues involving the children and agree on most everything when it comes to the children’s lives. They are flexible regarding schedules, they cover their payments on time, they can go to birthday parties and school events without incident.
The bad news: Some don’t.
There is the dad that didn’t show up again this weekend, disappointing the children with another failed promise. There is the mom who drinks too much. The stepdad who is overly angry and treats the stepchild differently than the other children. There is the mother who is OCD, blames the father for having germs, and alienates the children into fearing their father by requiring a full decontamination when returning home after visiting their dad.
The best interest of the child.
In Ohio, the primary focus on custody and visitation issues is “the best interest of the child.” Sounds great. Who doesn’t want what’s in the best interest of their child?
But there’s a problem. “Best interest” is ambiguous. What you think is in the best interest of a child may not be in line with what I think is in the best interest of a child. I may say vaccines are harmful, while you say it’s helpful. I may say spanking is an appropriate form of discipline, while you say spanking is bad and time outs are appropriate. I may say “yes” to tattoos and tongue piercings, you may say “hell no.”
Sometimes these differences in opinion between parents are so significant that third party intervention (the court) is necessary to settle the differences.
Do it right. For your children’s sake.
You want to be involved in your child’s life as much as possible. They need you. They need stability. They need a schedule. They need to be safe.