Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law

Stacking the deck for successful co-parenting

These days, courts consider the best interests of the child to involve joint custody. The belief is that the more time that each parent gets to spend with the children, the better off they will be as they make the transition from one household to two and beyond.

This shift in philosophy makes a parenting plan one of the most important child custody documents you need. In order to make sure it accomplishes all of the goals you have in mind for your family and meets with the court's approval, you may want to consider what makes a co-parenting relationship effective.

Components that may increase your chances of successful co-parenting

Of course, you need to include a predetermined schedule in your parenting plan. Knowing what to expect helps maintain routines, continuity and security for you and your children, so you can include as much detail as you need to that end. In addition, you may want to consider the following:

  • You and the other parent need to establish boundaries now that you are both single again. Each of you deserves your own life and to foster your relationships with your children as you like, so long as you don't endanger the children somehow.
  • If either of you needs or wants to make changes to the parenting time schedule, discuss it as soon as possible. Emergencies happen, but when you have notice, it is only polite to let the other parent know right away.
  • In fact, you may want to agree to defer to each other when you need a babysitter. You may love the opportunity for some extra time with the kids, and the other parent may feel the same.
  • Agree to attend any school, extracurricular or other events involving the children together. Your children would probably love to see you both in the crowd cheering them on without your personal relationship interfering.
  • Even though you may not think the other parent makes a good spouse, you may acknowledge that he or she is a good parent. Doing so could keep either or both of you from attempting to manipulate each other or the children.
  • If you can agree about the fundamentals, then your children may recognize that you are getting along. This helps them to know that you love them enough to put aside the differences that led to the divorce.

With these talking points, you could find the common ground you need in order to put together a parenting plan that satisfies the needs, desires and goals of everyone involved.

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Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law
1607 N.E. 41st Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

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