You and your ex-spouse don’t come from the same culture, to be sure, but your child is a part of both — and you need to keep that in mind when you’re thinking about the future.
Honoring and respecting both sides of your child’s culture is something that will help your child form a strong personal identity and reassure them about their place in the world.
What sort of cross-cultural issues do co-parents need to discuss?
When you sit down at the mediation table to talk about your parenting plan, here are the things you need to address:
- What holidays are most important to each parent? Different cultures have their own special days and celebrations. Your ex may want your child to spend Seder dinner with them, while you want to make sure that your child attends Christmas Eve midnight Mass with you.
- Are there special coming-of-age events that you want to celebrate? Maybe you want your daughter to have a Bat Mitzvah, and your ex-spouse wants her to have a quinceañera. There can be room for both in the parenting plan?
- What religious instruction will your child receive? Maybe you and your ex were largely irreligious during your marriage — but that can change. Forming some agreements about how to approach this issue post-divorce today can prevent legal action tomorrow.
- What cultural mores and values need to be discussed? Do you want your daughter to have the freedom to decide if she should wear a head covering or not to reflect her Muslim roots or faith? Is your ex insistent that your daughter wear one? It’s time to work out those issues while you can.
Ultimately, you can have both a peaceful divorce and a peaceful post-divorce relationship, but only if you and your ex-spouse are willing to tackle the big questions today. Mediation can help.