You and your co-parent certainly do not have to have the same rules. Your child custody agreement is going to divide up the time that the children spend in each house, focusing on their happiness and safety. But it’s not going to go so far as to give you a set of rules that you have to follow.
For example, your ex-spouse may feel that the children should have a curfew, but you may not be as worried about having them home at a specific time. Even if your ex complains, you don’t have to institute a curfew just because he or she uses one for the children at the other house.
That said, many parents do keep similar rules after divorce. Why do they do this if they’re not legally mandated to do so?
It creates stability
The big benefit of having the same rules is that it creates a more stable living situation for the children. They know what they’re supposed to do at each home, and there is limited confusion over their parents’ rules and parenting styles. Inconsistency can be stressful and confusing for them, but stability can be very helpful.
Specifically, remember that divorce often feels very unstable to children. It can be difficult for children to adjust to living in two different locations and everything else that goes along with divorce. Something as simple as giving them the same set of rules to follow can help them feel more confident and secure as they adjust to this new normal.
Understanding your rights
Rules are just one thing that co-parents have to think about. Make sure that you are well aware of all of your rights as you and your ex go through these options.