Successful Joint Custody: Putting the CO in CO-Parenting

Co-Parenting can be an ideal arrangement for the child(ren) involved when things go smoothly. It also requires parents who are willing and able to work together to ensure they both put the child’s needs before either of their own. What does co-parenting look like and is it the right choice for you? In this article, we’ll take a look at what it takes for a successful co-parenting relationship.

COmmunication: The biggest factor in a successful co-parenting relationship, or any relationship for that matter, is communication.  The ability to share information and ideas is a must when it comes to raising children, whether in the same household or separate ones.  Quick phone calls, texts, and emails are the best tools to share information.  A parent is going to need to inform the other when they are: running late for an exchange, need to reschedule visitation due to a schedule conflict, have an update from a teacher or doctor visit, want to request vacation time with the children, plan a birthday party, or bring the child to a holiday celebration during the other parent’s parenting time. There are 1001 reasons that co-parents need to communicate.  The ability to do so efficiently and civilly is vital.  Parents who cannot communicate without making personal comments to the other parent, gaslighting, trying to rehash the past, passing blame, or name-calling will not be successful co-parents.

COoperation: Parents who can successfully communicate have the opportunity to cooperate.  This can be as simple as following a parenting agreement or court order that lays out the expectations for child custody and visitation.  Meeting expectations is not only important for your children, but for your co-parent as well.  Being able to rely on the other co-parent to follow through on their parental responsibilities means you will have time for work, personal matters, or even just a break when you’re off the parental clock.  Failing to consistently meet expectations will lead to disappointment, potentially contempt of court, and likely make co-parenting impossible.

COllaboration: The act of working with someone to produce or create something.  The ‘someone’ you are working with is your co-parent.  The ‘something’ you are working to produce is a happy, healthy child or children.  It is important to remember that your children will learn from each of you.  Collaborating will ensure that what they learn from each of you instills your shared values and shapes their future.  Collaborating can be as simple as allowing the children to attend a birthday party for your ex-partner’s mother despite it being your regularly scheduled day for a visit or sharing school drop-off and pick-up when one parent’s work schedule is moved around. Working together with a co-parent can make your child’s proverbial ‘pie’ of life experiences larger than if you each were to try to do it all alone.  By keeping the children’s best interests top of mind, co-parents can collaborate to keep stability in their children’s lives and create opportunities to enrich their lives even further.

COmpromise: A part of collaboration is inevitably going to involve compromise.  Those unwilling to compromise, or “come to an agreement to resolve a dispute or issue wherein both sides give something up,” will have a tough time co-parenting.  Successful co-parents will be able to roll with the punches and take the occasional loss (of parenting time, decision-making, holidays) with the understanding that a compromise is usually only a temporary concession that promotes the long-term goal of stability for the children, as well as the co-parenting relationship.  To that end, compromise should be reciprocated so that neither party feels like a doormat and not taken advantage of.  Life throws you curveballs, parenting will throw the kitchen sink at you.  To get through it all, even the best parenting arrangements are going to need to be changed (or “modified” in court speak) from time to time and you’ll want to have compromise in your co-parenting tool belt to make it happen.

Parents who are able to manage these four basic COncepts stand a very good chance at being able to successfully CO-parent their shared children through Joint Legal Custody.  If one or more of these concepts is lacking, determine whether you have the personal ability to affect improvement in that area.  If so, then with continued effort to improve, co-parenting and Joint Legal Custody remains a possibility.  If not, then you are more likely a candidate for Sole Legal Custody and will want to examine the factors that a Court typically uses to determine which parent should have custody, read about it here.

This article is written for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Each family is unique, each case is different. If you find yourself in a situation involving custody issues it is often a good idea to consult with an attorney to discuss the unique aspects of your case before taking action. Whether you want to move forward with Joint Legal Custody or are looking to pursue Sole Legal Custody in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Westchester County, or New York City, the attorneys at The Law Office of Ryan Besinque, PC can help you with filing for your parenting plan. Call or text us at (929) 251-4477 or email us at ryan@besinquelaw.com for a consultation.

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