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Consider cultural differences when co-parenting

When you meet someone who grew up with another culture, it can add to the appeal between you. They can show you a different way of looking at things. They can introduce you to new foods, music, traditions and more.

Yet sometimes, the differences that attracted you to each other cause your marriage to break apart. When that happens, it’s particularly important to make sure that you take your cultural differences into account when drafting your co-parenting agreement.

If your child has two cultures, help them celebrate the differences

When a child has parents from two cultures, that child is a blend of both cultures. When you divorce, you should help your child celebrate their mixed heritage. Here are some simple things you can do:

  • Consider what holidays are important in each culture: Chinese New Year falls a month after the Christian new year. For some religions, Christmas is not the most important holiday of the year. Setting terms in your parenting plan that allow you each to honor important holidays with your children is wise.
  • Consider significant life events in each culture: In Jewish culture, Bat mitzvahs are the big coming of age celebration for girls. They take place at 12 or 13. In Latino cultures, the big event is the quinceañera when a girl turns 15. Consider how your child wants to celebrate such events and take those issues into account in your agreement.
  • Consider the effect on schooling or healthcare: You may wish your child to follow your religion. The other parent may want them to follow theirs. Certain beliefs have different opinions on specific healthcare procedures. Some schools promote a particular religion. You’ll need to come to some kind of agreement on these issues with your ex-spouse if you want to avoid constant legal battles. 

Creating your parenting agreement may require extra consideration on the part of you and your spouse. You do not have to hold each other’s beliefs, but you need to respect them. Both are part of the history that makes your child who they are. Working with an experienced advocate can also help you find solutions.