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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

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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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