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Parenting disagreements may form basis of child custody disputes

A new baby in the home brings great joy and satisfaction. However, babies also change the dynamics of a household, especially for first-time parents. Tennessee parents may read books and seek advice about how to deal with the issues of raising children, but ultimately, they must make the decisions as a couple. Unfortunately, some of those decisions create enough stress in a marriage to result in divorce. When this happens those child-raising conflicts may play out through child custody battles.

Penn State recently released the results of a study about the damage a marriage may suffer when parents disagree with each other about raising children. In particular, the researchers were interested in the question of how parents respond to children at bedtime. Mothers who felt strongly about checking on their babies throughout the night, even up to the age of 12 months, often had communication issues with their spouses. If a mother's opinions clashed with the father's philosophy of when to offer or withhold comfort from children who cry in the night, the marriage tended to suffer.

The researchers concluded that discussing the finer points of raising children may be an appropriate part of marriage preparation. Not only will this resolve some issues that may create rifts between parents, but it may give potential spouses practice is communicating about issues that are touchy or about which one partner may have strong opinions. When a child is crying at 3 a.m. and parents are weary and on edge, it may not be the best time to have this conversation.

It is not a drastic leap to say that when a couple's parenting disputes lead to divorce, chances are high that those same parenting disputes will arise during custody hearings. During child custody battles, parents are often forced to prove they are the fitter parent or to present evidence that the other parent is less capable. Having an attorney to assist in building a strong case may give a parent a decided advantage in Tennessee family court.

Source: Reader's Digest, "Fighting About Your Kid's Bedtime Can Lead to Divorce", Sam Benson Smith, Aug. 17, 2017

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