Do co-parents have to agree on discipline?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2022 | Custody And Parenting Time |

As parents, during your marriage, you and your partner often disagreed on discipline. Maybe your partner is very strict and wanted to punish the children at times that you thought were inappropriate, whereas you were more lenient and wanted to give them a gentle correction. Or maybe your partner thinks that it’s fine to use physical forms of discipline, while you do not.

In any case, you’ve gotten divorced, and now you’ve realized how difficult this is going to be. Most parenting experts will tell you that it’s important to present a united front and that it can be good to set down house rules that will apply to the children when they’re living with either parent. This helps the children because it gives them more stability, it sets expectations and it can make your lives go more smoothly.

The problem is that you do not agree with your ex’s parenting strategies, and that’s part of why you got divorced. Do you have to accept them now that you are coparents?

There’s no legal obligation.

From a legal perspective, you’re definitely not obligated to have the same punishments or the same disciplines. You don’t have to have the same parenting styles, schedules or even rules for the children when they’re in the house. Both parents are free to do as they please when they have custody of the children.

It can certainly still help to try to find a middle ground with your co-parent, if possible. You also certainly want to take action if you think that the discipline tactics they use cross any lines that are dangerous for your children. But remember that neither of you are obligated to agree, so this may not happen. Just be sure you understand exactly what legal steps you can take.