How Will You Go About Settling Disagreements With Your Spouse That Affect the Child?

Answers to this question could take up an entire book (actually, it could take up many entire books, and it does—literally millions of pages have been written on this subject). Your options and those of the other parent essentially boil down to four:

  • capitulate to your ex-spouse whenever a disagreement or dispute arises between you and your ex-spouse (which is the path of the least resistance and of the most injustice not only to you but to the child)
  • settle disagreements through dialogue, negotiation, and compromise (which is the most decent of the options, but requires that you and your ex-spouse value being decent, reasonable, and fair above dealing with each other in opportunistic, self-serving ways)
  • settle disagreements through litigation in court (which is better than mortal combat, but can be—and usually is—acrimonious, time-consuming, and emotionally and economically exhausting/destructive to everyone, including the child. It also leaves resolution of the disagreement in the hands of the judge, not you and your ex-spouse). Sometimes you have no choice but to litigate if your ex-spouse refuses to act in the best interest of the child or refuses to negotiate and compromise with you.
  • settle disagreements by acting as a law unto yourself (which is illegal but often extremely tempting if and when you are on the right end of the power imbalance, but when practiced leads to chaos and anarchy, sometimes serious violence. It also sets a terrible example to your child as to how to deal with and resolve conflict).[1]


[1] That stated, there is a situation in which acting as a law unto oneself is not only justified but necessary. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this way: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” Thomas Jefferson put it this way: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government…”(Thomas Jefferson). Otherwise stated, “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” (author uknown)

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