Published On: February 24, 2023

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 put the child’s needs before their own. This article will examine what it takes for a successful co-parenting relationship. What does successful joint custody look like, and is it the right choice for you? Suppose you need assistance filing for a parenting plan or have questions about Child Custody Proceedings. In that case, the New York City family law attorneys at The Law Office of Ryan Besinque, PC, can assist you. We can be contacted by calling or texting (929) 251-4477 or emailing us at ryan@besinquelaw.com to arrange a consultation.

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 remain 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.

Creating a Co-Parenting Plan

At first glance, divorce may seem like one parent emerges as the victor while the other suffers defeat. One parent may have better financial stability, while the other may struggle to make ends meet. Conversely, the parent who seems to have everything may have less time to spend with their children, while the other parent spends more time with them.

Regardless of whether this situation applies to you, every family must balance family life, their child’s well-being, emotions, and other factors when creating a parenting plan that works for them. To design a suitable parenting plan, several factors need to be considered, such as schedules, holidays, finances, and communication.

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While some circumstances may require parents to consider unique factors and take additional steps, these six fundamental steps will help any parent create the perfect parenting plan.

Step 1: Prioritizing your child’s welfare is essential in crafting an ideal parenting plan. When creating the plan, you must consider their physical and emotional needs, as every family differs. Physical needs include food, shelter, medical care, and protection from harm, while emotional needs encompass maintaining relationships with both parents and upholding a healthy mental state. Additionally, parents may consider their child’s specific wishes based on age and developmental stage. Other topics to examine include the distance between parents’ homes, distance from relevant locations, and work schedules. Make sure to cover all matters specific to your child or family.

Step 2: Your parenting timetable establishes a new pattern for your household and establishes the duration of time that your child spends with you and your co-parent. It’s crucial to find a schedule that works for your family, considering your child’s needs and those of the co-parent. The 50/50 time split is recommended by family courts, and there are many ways to organize it. A biweekly rotation, 2-2-5-5 rotation, and 2-2-3 rotation are examples. But alternating weekends and mid-week visitations could work too. Remembering to prepare for holidays and notable events such as birthdays is important. Remember, your parenting schedule might change to meet your child’s evolving needs.

Step 3: When you start shared parenting, you’ll realize how difficult it is to organize information about your child in both homes. It’s important to have a structured communication plan with your co-parent. Co-parenting apps make communication easier, providing a secure platform to manage your parenting plan. To keep in touch with your kids while you’re separated, video messaging or regular phone conversations can help mitigate the distance. Make sure to include your communication plan in your parenting plan.

Step 4: Collaborate with your co-parent to create a parenting strategy that addresses crucial determinations regarding your child’s schooling, medical treatment, religious observance, and cultural impacts. Document initial decisions and create a plan for communicating on these matters. It’s advisable to have a contingency plan for significant resolutions during emergencies, like in the case of an injury.

Step 5: Even when sharing legal and physical custody and parenting duties, parents typically bear financial responsibility for their children. Child support is frequently required to assist with basic living expenses, and it’s essential to maintain a record of child-related expenditures for verification purposes. It is important to have a plan for handling costs that child support might not cover and establish a method of reimbursement as requested. Though these steps are essential, seeking guidance from a New York City family law attorney for specific concerns is best when creating the perfect parenting plan.

Step 6: To ensure the success of your parenting plan, focus on creating positive memories for your child and aim for a cooperative and flexible co-parenting partnership. While crafting a parenting plan may be challenging or quick, it can be done correctly by following the free parenting plan checklist and working with New York City family law attorneys for guidance. Rather than trying to win or prove who is more qualified, prioritize your child’s relationship with both parents.

Who Gets the Custody of Children in a New York Divorce?

A custody agreement can be created if you and your spouse are able to agree on the specific details of your children’s custody in the event of a separation or divorce. The agreement will outline the major decisions that you make for your child and include details such as holidays, birthdays, and vacations. 

However, if you are not able to reach an agreement with your spouse about custody, the court may get involved to assist you in resolving your dispute. In some cases, couples may find mediation helpful in these situations. If the couple is still unable to agree on the terms even after the mediation, the court will look into what is best for the child and decide the custody arrangements based on that. Many judges today strive to grant equitable joint custody to each parent when it is possible to allow them to have significant time with the child.

The most important people in your life are your children. The relationship between the parents and their children will not end, even though the spouses may want to break up. This is why it is important that you have an NYC child custody attorney who will help protect your parental rights.

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 a child custody 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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