Divorce is often hardest on the youngest members of the family, and for this reason, many New York parents do whatever they can to shield their children from negativity and upheaval. By providing a stable environment for the kids in the midst of such a difficult process, parents can protect the emotional and mental well-being of their kids during this time of transition.
One of the ways to do this is by choosing to co-parent. Not every family is able or willing to choose this type of custody arrangement, but if it works for you, it can provide great benefit to every member of the family. Co-parenting requires that both parents remain willing to communicate and cooperate, even after the divorce is final.
Who should co-parent?
There are situations in which it would be impossible for two former spouses to work together and function within the parameters of a co-parenting agreement. However, not every divorce is bitterly acrimonious or litigious, and some soon-to-be-ex-spouses are able to set emotions aside and parent cooperatively.
You may be unsure if co-parenting is the right choice for you, but you may consider the option if the following apply to both parents:
- Willingness to negotiate and discuss terms of co-parenting plan
- Ability to avoid negative talk about the other parent in front of the kids
- Desire to have more control over post-divorce custody and visitation plans
- Desire to provide as much continuity of lifestyle as possible for the children
Co-parenting does not mean that both parents must be friends or agree all the time, but it does require a willingness to provide a way for the children to have a positive and strong relationship with both parents after divorce.
The building blocks of a strong co-parenting plan
The priority of any family law court is to protect the best interests of the children above all else. However, no judge knows your family like you do, and developing your own co-parenting plan allows you to have more control over the final custody order. A full discussion of the following elements is the foundation for a strong and sustainable plan:
- Visitation schedule
- Parenting time
- Education and religious preferences
- School and extracurricular activities
- Special mental or physical needs of the children
Co-parenting is not about winning or losing, it is about letting your children thrive, even after a divorce. If you wish to explore this option, it is beneficial to discuss your parental rights and legal objectives with an experienced family law attorney.