The Benefits of Joint Custody and Co-Parenting for your Child’s Well Being

Co-Parenting in a Joint Custody Arrangement

Co-Parenting in a Joint Custody Arrangement

Your child may mean the world to you, but in a divorce, it’s important for parents to realize that spending time with each child is what brings the most value to the child. For some couples, joint custody and  co-parenting is the only option, as it allows each parent to have a say in their child’s upbringing. For others, joint custody is a tough decision, as there may be history of abuse or just personal reasons for one parent wanting sole custody. However, as long as your child’s safety won’t be compromised, you may want to consider these benefits of joint custody.


Joint custody encourages co-parenting.

Just because you and your ex have joint custody doesn’t mean you will each raise your child the same and have the same rules and consequences. However, many couples have found that joint custody does create a balance between exes and encourages them to co-parent. After all, by doing so, you and your ex will share the same rules and punishments for each household, and you’ll have someone to back you if your child ever becomes difficult. And even though you’ll be in separate houses, this type of teamwork—while it may be frustrating to your child when they’re in trouble—will also provide a balanced upbringing that provides plenty of benefits.


Joint custody encourages shared expenses.

Child support payments and arrangements will vary by state and by case. In some joint custody arrangements, one parent does still pay child support to the other. However, in others, sometimes joint custody eliminates the need for child support payments. No matter how your situation falls, joint custody does encourage shared expenses for the child. For instance, you and your ex can agree to split the cost of doctor bills, extracurricular activities, school registration fees, etc. This helps to ease the burden financially (while also forcing you two to communicate with one another.)


Joint custody gives you a routine.

Joint custody arrangements give you and your child a routine, as everyone knows the schedule and what days the child will be with which parent. Not only does this type of routine help your child, but it also lets you schedule your own life. For instance, if you have to schedule something for work or you just want to go out with friends and have a night on the town, you can do so. That’s because you’ll know exactly what days you’ll be free, and you won’t have to worry about finding a babysitter or getting home early.


Joint custody makes you enjoy the little things.

As a parent, you know that sometimes your child can drive you crazy, and there will be times when you feel as if all you do is argue, clean up after, or just feel overwhelmed by your child. First of all, this is normal, so don’t feel like you’re a bad parent. And second of all, when you’re in a joint custody situation, you now have a break, which gives you time to appreciate the little things. For instance, since you may not spend quality time with your child every day, it will encourage you to do more fun things and create more lasting memories with your child. In addition, it will also make you appreciate them, as absence makes the heart grow fonder.


Even if your divorce was messy and emotional, realize there is a sunny side to splitting custody with your ex. Joint custody is a great way for many parents to remain active in the child’s life and still have access to all the wonderful events that come with raising a child. Most importantly, when you co-parent, it creates a relaxed and safe environment for your child. He or she will know that they are not stuck in the middle of a battle between their parents.

To speak to a National Family Solutions representative about a family legal matter, please click on the button below

How to Co-Parent an Adopted Child After Divorce

Divorce is a difficult process for everyone involved for a variety of reasons. You and your former spouse have made a life changing decision, one that is best in the long run, but for the time being it’s a difficult and often tumultuous period.

This difficulty is compounded when you factor an adopted child into the equation. Divorce often brings out lingering attachment issues for adopted children, and reminds them of the loss that they have already faced. While you and your former spouse know that you will both continue to be there for your child, he or she may not be so sure. Here are some important tips for how to co-parent your child during this trying time.

  • Present a United Front: Comfort from both parents will go a long way to helping your child. If you and your former spouse have the ability to speak to your child together about the situation, you should do so. It will show the child that you are both still working together to be her parents, and you can reassure him or her that both of you will still be very much involved in their life. Additionally, be sure to keep up this attitude when it is just you. Though you personally may be hurting, you need to make sure you avoid slandering the other parent or undermining their decisions. It is incredibly important for your child to have support and love from both parents, and know that you both can still cooperate peacefully.
  • Focus on Your Child First: This seems obvious, but during this time it’s very easy to start focusing on the personal issues going on. Your life is also turned upside down by this decision. There is also a larger likelihood of guilt with adoptive parents, as you may hold yourself to a higher standard, or feel that you haven’t held up your end of the bargain with a loving home. You need to push these thoughts away, and tell yourself that the best way to get through this is by focusing on your child first, and giving them stability.
  • Maintain Normalcy: You want to make your child happy, if only for a moment, so you may tend to be more lenient on rules and everyday routines. This can actually be detrimental to your child. Maintain your normal lifestyle and responsibilities as much as is possible during this time.
  • Seek Professional Help: While this is not limited to adopted children, it certainly presents an added component. Children have a tendency to blame themselves or act out after their parents announce their divorce. By factoring in adoption, their latent feelings of abandonment or loss of control can act as a catalyst. It’s important to understand that it is normal for them to act out, and that they may need someone to talk to. Don’t be afraid to take them to a therapist, so they can work out their problems in a safe space.

Adoption and divorce are both complicated, and putting them together creates a very messy situation. Make sure to do research on your specific situation and repeat the mantra: my child first.

Featured photo source:

To speak to a National Family Solutions representative about a family legal matter, please click on the button below

How to Co-Parent When Your Ex is a Recovering Drug Addict

One of the toughest things for someone in a relationship is co-parenting with a partner that has been battling with an addiction problem.  When the relationship ends, it can be quite hard to determine what is going to be the best way to care for the children involved.  One of the biggest concerns is over the safety and well-being of the children involved.

Most people who have lived with a partner that has a drug addiction wind up feeling let down, sad, and worn out over the issues that they have had to deal with.  A full scale custody battle might end up being your first reaction.  However, going through all of that can prove to be too much for you as well as too much for your children.  There are many other ways that you can settle things with your ex without having to go through with a full stage custody battle.


Children Can Be Damaged By a Custody Battle

Most people end up forgetting about the children that they are fighting for when they are going through a custody battle.  There is a lot of psychological damage that can be done to children who are going through a custody battle.  Many children who go through this end up with the same issues as children who have been emotionally abused or neglected.

In recent studies conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital, it showed that 65% of all children who go through a custody battle end up suffering from anxiety.  27% of the children actually became depressed while 44% were physically violent.  Additionally, 31% ended up suffering from a sleep disorder.  It was also shown that these children struggle to have healthy relationships and friendships.  They are also more likely to suffer from attachment issues as they have a hard time dealing with the loss of relationship that they feel with the non-custodial parent. Therefor, it’s important to learn how to comfort your children during  a divorce or custody battle.


Forced Arrangements Are Often Problematic

There are few parents who fight for custody in court that end up with satisfactory visitation schedules.  When a court decides the custody, it is not as agreeable and both parents are not as happy as when an agreement is reached outside of court.  Agreements that are made within the family structure tend to be more tailored to each family’s specific needs.  When two co-parents go through a court battle for custody, they end up spending a considerable amount of money and typically end up with a relationship that is n a worse place then it was before the custody battle started.  Even if you are not in a relationship with the other parent, you should attempt to have a friendship and civil relationship for the sake of any children involved.


Protecting the Child While Being Proactive

Many people do not realize that even if your ex is battling a drug addiction that there are steps you can take to ensure that the two of you can have a healthy co-parenting relationship.  During recovery, it is important that you maintain the day to day physical custody of the children.  You should maintain a positive relationship with your ex and help aide in the recovery by allowing them to see your children during appropriate times.  As long as your ex is remaining sober, you should encourage more contact between them and the children.  There should be a shared parenting agreement or a continued increase in the other parent’s ability to see the children as they continue to recover and get better.

It is important that you acknowledge the efforts of your ex in their ability to stay sober and clean.  It is also important that you should have an open dialogue about the consequences of your ex falling back into their drug addiction or drug use.  Showing that they are able to stay clean is important and when they are able to prove this, so is allowing them to see their child more liberally.  Going through family therapy together can be a great way of being able to set up boundaries and discuss any fears or worries that you might have about the safety of your children.  It can also be a great way for them to feel encouraged to maintain their sobriety in order to obtain more time with their children.



To speak to a National Family Solutions representative about a family legal matter, please click on the button below

Leaving The State with Your Child for a New Job

If you are divorced or have a child our of wedlock with your Ex, the situation could arise where you might want to leave the state with your child in order to obtain employment in another state.  This is one situation that is always based on a case by case scenario and what’s already been established in your previous child custody order, but can really be a hard if the other parent is objecting to such a move.  When objected you will have to have burden of proof that shows that your child will be better off where you are going.


Lots of Factors to Think About

State Laws

One of the biggest things that will affect whether or not you can leave the state that you live in with your child are state laws.  State laws can drastically vary by state so depending on where you live it could be hard or easy to move to another state.


Distance of Move

Another thing that you should consider is how far away you are moving.  If you are moving within 150 miles of your home, it is going to be easier to move then if you are planning on moving further away.  Thinking about how the child will be able to see the other parent on a regular basis will be important when you are planning a move.


Visitation Schedule

 Ensuring that the other parent has liberal visitation is also important when you are moving.  Making sure that you present a schedule that is going to accommodate the other parent’s visitation is important.  Prepare to give up a considerable amount of your time with your child when they are not in school as they are likely going to be with the other parent the majority of the time.  If your child is not school aged, then it might work for them to be able to spend periods of one month at a time with each parent.  Holidays and school breaks are also things that you will need to think about.


Quality of Life

Another thing that you will want to do is make sure that you are improving your child’s quality of life.  This means that you are going to prove that your child has a top education and that they are going to be able to do the things that they did where you are currently living.  Sports schedules, extra-curricular activities, and the school’s overall rating is very important.


Steps You Need to Take

There are many steps that you need to take to be able to move with your child to another state.  The following is a list of the steps that you should take to ensure that you will be able to move as you wish.


Step 1 – Get a Job

The first thing that you are going to need is a job offer.  Make sure that you are applying for the right type of jobs that will be careers.  If the job is one that you can find where you live, then there is no reason for you to move anywhere else.  Finding a government job is one thing that you might want to consider.


Step 2 – Talk to Your Child’s Other Parent

The next step that you should take is that you want to make sure that you are talking with your child’s other parent.  If you can get the other parent on board and you can agree to terms for the move, then it is going to work out best for the both of you.  If you can’t get them on board it could end up in a full trial.


Step 3 – Talk to a Legal Professional

If the other parent is not on board, then you will likely end up going to trial before you can remove the child from the state that you are currently living in.  If the other parent is on board, the attorney will only be needed for paperwork that will need to be signed by a judge.  Depending on if you go to trial this can be something that does not cost much or something that ends up costing a lot, so make sure that you are evaluating all options to stay in the state with child if the other parent is opposed.

Even though living in the same state as your child’s other parent is typically ideal, there are many factors that might be in play where your child would be moved out of state.  If you are considering moving your child, there are a lot of things that could factor into a judge’s decision on what would be best for your children.

To speak to a National Family Solutions representative about a family legal matter, please click on the button below

What Should You Do if Your Ex is Not Following the Parenting Plan?

One of the most frustrating experiences for any divorced or separated parent is to find themselves in a situation where the other parent is not following through with the parenting plan that has been set in place.  Co-parenting is hard work and when one parent decides to do something that breaks the bonds between the child and the other parent or chooses to do things that are not part of the plan, then it not only hurts the other parent but it also hurts the child.  When a father has been granted limited time with the child and the mother is refusing to cooperate as she is supposed to, it can be very frustrating for any father. Unfortunately some parents don’t understand that custody is not about winning or losing, it’s about what’s in the best interest of the child. Keeping the children away from the other parent hurts the kids more than anything. During these situations,  remembering to keep your cool and to not react in a way that that could be determined to be violent or aggressive is the first place that you should start.


Understanding Contempt

The first thing that you have to realize if your ex is not following the parenting plan is that the police are not going to gt involved with this matter.  The matter is completely civil and not criminal so you are not going to be getting help from law enforcement for the matter.  There are actually forms that you can look up online if you do not have the money to hire an attorney.

When you represent yourself you have to act and think like a lawyer and remove all emotion from the interactions.  There are no legal ways that your ex needs to make you feel and there is nothing that is “fair” or “right” as those are all judgments.  However, that does not mean that it is impossible for you to do this.  You just have to keep your head on straight and know what you are going to be talking about with the judge.  Reflect all answers to how it is hurting your child for this to go on.  Look at the court documents and use similar language when speaking  to the judge and try to answer any questions with the least amount of words possible. It’s advisable to notate dates, times and specific circumstances that your Ex is violating a parenting plan so you have the proper facts when filing for contempt with the court.


Hiring an Attorney

 Hiring an attorney is what most people decide to do because tackling your own legal problems in court can be so tough.  If you are worried about how you can afford a lawyer there should be a family law coordinator in the courthouse.  You can go talk to this individual and get all of the information that you need to find affordable family legal representation.  This person can also help you to understand how to move forward and if you have a case against your ex.  In most cases you are going to have to prove malicious intent on the part of your ex for them to get into trouble.  Depending on the county in which you live, this is something that might be drastically different.  For instance in some counties your ex could be fined or jailed but in others they are basically going to get told not to do it again.  Knowing the area in which you live is going to best be able to help you understand what you should do.  You can ask for your ex to be responsible for your legal fees since they brought on the situation that required you to hire legal representation.  In some cases a judge might award you these fees but in others it might not work out.   If a judge feels that you have more money than your ex or feels as though you are both being petty then it is not something that they are going to do.


Hiring a Family Advocacy Group

If you are not in the financial position to hire an attorney, you can always get a free consultation with National Family Solutions. There are qualifying representative that go over your situation and see if it’s a case that they can help with. These types of programs are set up to help families that need help going through a family law proceeding but can’t pay the high cost of retainer fees. A Case Manager will be assigned to you to help you do some of the leg work yourself. For example, you will file and have a third party serve the documents so you don’t have to pay an attorney or law firm to do these two steps. This option works for many parents that need to file custody for the first time, modify a previous custody order or even file for contempt because the other party is not following a parenting plan or court order.



To speak to a National Family Solutions representative about a family legal matter, please click on the button below