Tips for Successful Co-Parenting at School

With the holidays past and kids are headed back to school, a whole new set of co-parenting problems need to be handled. How you are going to successfully co-parent at school will determine how your child succeeds in school. If school becomes another war zone, then your child is less likely to be successful.

If you do not get along with your ex, the school situation is going to be quite difficult If you do get along, that will certainly help smooth the process. The school year can be stressful for any parent but for those who are co-parenting the stress level can significantly increase. Co-parents need to have a plan so that they can avoid conflict over their children’s education.

Understand Court Documents

One of the first things that you will need to do when you are trying to be successful co-parents with your child’s education is understand what your court documents say and mean. Consult your paperwork so that you understand exactly what rights you have.

Some court documents require that parents make joint decisions about things like education while others have one appointed parent who is going to be the main decision maker. If you have joint communication and get along well then there is no reason that you should not be able to make decisions together. If you don’t communicate well or have some other issue, then one of the parents was likely appointed during court to be the main decision maker and that parent will have that power with education-related decisions.

Come Up with a Plan at School

Next, the two of you should discuss the plan for when your child is at school. Figuring out everything from who is the main point of contact in emergencies, to who attends parent-teacher conferences are important decisions to make so that you can inform the school and teachers. This way everything can be agreed upon and it is not confusing for the school or teachers. If you cannot talk, write down everything that each of you want, and then do some back-and-forth with compromise to reach an agreement. When you go to the school with your plan, it’s essential to have all court papers and documents in hand.

Plan Who Will Attend School Events

One thing that you should decide upon before you go to the school is how you will handle the two of you attending school events. The best way to go about this is to logically consider the parents’ work schedules and who will be available during the different times. One parent might find that it works best for them to do the things during school hours while it works out better for the other parent to do those that are happening after school. It also might work out that parents need to trade the events that they will attend with the child or that both parents can attend events together. Just have a plan ahead of time so that you both know the expectations for who will be at the child’s events and activities.

Plan Who Will Fill Out Paperwork/Be Contacted First

Typically, it is easiest for the custodial parent to be contacted first with any child. However, there are times when this might not be what is best for the children. Think about where each parent works/lives and who can get to the child’s school quicker. Also consider if one parent has other children in the same school and whether or not the parent who is being contacted can relay information back to the other parent.

What to Let Teachers Know

Teachers do not need to know about all the dirt that you have on your ex. It is obvious to everyone involved that an ex is an ex for a reason. So, keep yourself clear headed when talking to teachers or others at your child’s school. Think about how you can put into words simply what each parent’s expectations are. Let the teacher know if different parents are picking up/dropping off and what days that is happening. A set schedule is a good idea when possible. When this is not possible, it might be necessary to send your child’s teacher a weekly note outlining who will be taking and picking up the child each day.

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

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

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

The Difference Between Joint and Physical Custody

If you are a parent and you are going through a divorce then one of the things that is going to be discussed immediately is the custody of the children. There are two main types of custody when it comes to the kids, joint and physical. If you are going through any type of custody battle or situation then it is important to understand the difference between these two.

Joint Custody

When someone is awarded joint custody, the custody of the child is shared 50/50. This means that the child is going to spend 50% of their time with you and 50% of their time with their other parent. In some cases the percentages can not be exact but they should be close. In today’s divorce courts joint custody, which can also be called shared or equal custody, is becoming the most common ruling. The reason behind this is that studies have shown that children benefit greatly when co-parenting is involved and both parents take an active role in their life.

In addition it seems that more fathers are asking to have equal parenting as they are going through a divorce. In most situations this is the best choice for the child. However, it does require the two parents to live in close proximity to one another. It also requires that the parents be able to get along and that they can make decisions together when it comes to the interest of the child.

Of course if the parents can not get along or if the parents do not live close to one another this is not going to work out for them or the child involved. So if that is the case another type of custody should be considered.

Physical Custody

When one parent of a child is awarded physical custody of that child, then the child is going to live with them. There will be a set visitation schedule for the other parent to get to see the child on a regular and consistent basis. The divorce papers will either call this physical custody or sole physical custody. This type of custody awards the parent with certain rights and responsibilities that are shared between the parents with joint custody.

In most cases the child spends the majority of their time with one parent. The child usually has a week night visit and a visit every other weekend with the parent who does not have custody of the child. The holidays and special events in the child’s life are also shared between the two parents or set schedule is made. Depending on the courts in the area where you live, these visitation schedules can be quite liberal. If you are the parent who has not been awarded physical custody, it is your right to ask that you have liberal visitation times with your child.

The biggest mistake that is made is that the non-custodial parent does not get the court to define a set visitation schedule, liberal or otherwise. For instance with the standard schedule mentioned above, make sure that there is one week night stated in the paperwork if the parents can not agree. This way you are getting your child that one set night regardless. If you leave it open ended you could end up fighting all of the time about what night is best for both you and the child. The custodial parent could have the child in activities that would interfere with your choice of nights and could leave you unable to follow through with the visitation because of work and other things.

Additionally it is very important that pick up and drop off times be stated clearly for all dates of visitation. This should be included for holidays, week night visits, weekends, and vacation periods. If you are awarded the most common type of visitation schedule you can expect that you will have your child one week night, every other weekend, every other holiday (rotating each year so that you have the child on the opposite holidays during the other years), and for two weeks of vacation during the summer. This is pretty much the standard set minimum for visitation.

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