Child custody is one of the most complex issues that parents will have to work through when they go through a divorce. It is not easy to set aside the difficult emotions that come with ending a marriage and find a parenting plan that makes sense long-term. For many Maryland families, co-parenting is the best choice for both the adults and the children.
While this arrangement may make the most sense for your family, it does not necessarily mean that it will be easy. However, you will find that it works better when you keep your eyes on what is most important — the best interests of your children. This will help you maintain a peaceful co-parenting relationship, even when things are hard, which is ultimately best for every member of the family.
How to co-parent well
The intent of any child custody arrangement is to protect the best interests of the children, provide stability and maintain as much continuity of lifestyle as possible. Co-parenting is often good for the kids because it allows them to have good relationships with both parents. If you are planning to co-parent and you have concerns about how to make this work well, the following may prove helpful:
- Allowing the kids to have access to both parents eliminates the need for the kids to feel like he or she has to choose one parent over the other.
- Communicating between parents is helpful, especially when there are changes in schedule or the child expresses the desire for additional time with one parent.
- Make decisions that are practical and actually best for the child. For example, if one parent lives closer to his or her school, it may make more sense to allow that parent to have more responsibility for drop-off and pick-up.
- When a child is old enough to choose where he or she wants to live, that does not mean that he or she should make such an important decision without input from the parents.
At the end of the day, parents must choose what is best for the kids. That will require communication and cooperation, as a co-parenting arrangement will affect every member of the family for years to come. A peaceful parenting plan starts with a smart custody order. Before you agree to terms or make decisions that will affect you and your children, you may want to consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney.