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Four Behaviors That Can Derail Your Co-Parenting Plan

Wed 24th Jan, 2024 Family Law

Most divorced couples would prefer to begin the process of moving on without constantly being in contact with their exes; that can be difficult for divorced couples with children, as many parents attempt to put aside their differences to implement a co-parenting plan that is best for their children. Co-parenting is rarely easy, even for ex-spouses in relatively amicable divorces. It takes a lot of effort to make it work, and, unfortunately, many parents engage in co-parenting behaviors that put their children’s well-being at risk. A Stockton family law attorney can help divorced couples craft co-parenting plans that minimize friction. 

What Is Co-Parenting? 

Co-parenting is a style of post-divorce parenting in which both parents continue to raise their children together even though they are no longer a married couple. It generally involves both parents jointly participating in the upbringing of their children, including even sharing equal physical custody and attending activities together in some cases. It contrasts sharply with parallel parenting, where each parent interacts with the other as little as possible. 

Common Co-Parenting Mistakes 

Lack of Communication 

Frequent and open communication is the bedrock of a successful co-parenting plan. While the parents might not necessarily see each other face-to-face often, they should nonetheless remain in close contact through phone calls and texts. Keep in mind that jokes, sarcasm, and other types of humor often do not come across in written communications. To avoid misunderstandings or miscommunications, keep contact straightforward and businesslike. 

Putting the Children in the Middle 

Just because two parents are separated with joint custody does not mean that they should use their children as messengers or go-betweens. All communications should run between the parents, not through the children. Children are also not to be used as leverage. For example, one parent may be tempted to refuse to drop a child off at the other parent’s until the other parent mails the check for child support. This behavior can have serious legal repercussions for the offending parent. 

Speaking Ill of Your Spouse in Front of the Children 

You know the old saying — if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. This advice is particularly apt when it comes to co-parenting, as speaking ill of a child’s other parent in front of them can compromise their ability to form a loving relationship with that parent. It may also constitute parental alienation in some cases. 

Being Inflexible 

Child custody and visitation arrangements are court orders that must be followed according to their terms. However, there is nonetheless some room for flexibility, such as when schedules change at the last minute or one parent is going to be late dropping the child off at the other parent’s. Graciously allowing the other parent a little wiggle room increases the odds that they will return the favor. 

Craft a Co-Parenting Plan With Help From a Stockton Family Law Attorney 

To get started on crafting a co-parenting plan that works for your family and minimizes the risk of disputes, please contact a Stockton family law attorney at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.

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