Co-parents have no legal obligation to agree to use the same rules in both homes. If your ex makes a rule that the children have to have a certain curfew, for example, you don’t have to put the same curfew in place at your house. You can have very different rules for almost any topic you can consider.
That being said, if you’re looking at what is best for your children, you may want to institute as many of the same rules as you can. This provides your children with consistency. It makes it clear what your expectations are and they know how to act within both homes. This can make them feel safer and more secure because their lives have more stability than they would otherwise.
Creating a parenting plan
Since you don’t have the legal obligation to follow the rules, the two of you need to agree on them when you make your parenting plan. You can discuss things like how rules should be enforced, what punishments should be used and what sort of joint messages you want to send to your children.
Of course, it’s important for parents to be able to both cooperate and communicate if they’re going to do this. You have to be civil enough to talk about complicated issues, you have to be willing to compromise when everything doesn’t perfectly match up and you need to be willing to cooperate so that you can find a solution.
The best way to get yourself into this mindset is to remember that the children should always be your focus. When they come first, it’s easy to work with your ex to make collaborative decisions that help the kids. Of course, you also do want to be aware of your legal rights as a parent at this time.