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Discussing guns for co-parenting plans

Divorcing spouses have a lot to think about as they begin to discuss co-parenting plans. Common issues include how to handle holidays and who pays for music lessons, tutoring and the like.

Sometimes, guns also become an issue. For example, during the marriage, perhaps the couple agreed to not have guns in the house, but now one parent may want to have guns. Perhaps that parent also wants to teach the children how to use a gun, much to the chagrin of the other parent. How should they handle such issues?

Safety first

As long as the parent who wants a gun in the house will do so in a responsible manner and clears all necessary background issues, it is unlikely that a judge would disallow such ownership. For a spouse who has lived with his or her children for years knowing that a gun is not in the house, this can be a distressing issue, even with all safety precautions taken. Sometimes, counseling can help. What is also helpful is to remain on civil terms with the other parent. This way, you get to see for yourself the locked safe or vault, for example, and its sturdiness may reassure you.

It can also be a good idea for you to help educate your children on firearm safety. Instead of appearing panicky and scared when discussing the fact that the children's other parent has a gun in the house, you can calmly state something like, "Your other parent wants to keep a gun in the apartment. It is within his or her rights to do that, so I wanted to double check that you are aware of gun safety issues. Here are some of the top tips to be aware of."

Outlining the requirements for gun safety in the parenting plan might also help reassure you.

Gun use

Other issues to address in a parenting plan may be when the child can start gun classes. Will you and the other parent allow the child to go hunting? The best time to resolve such issues, if possible, is while the two of you discuss parenting plans. Fighting about them later may require a return to court.

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