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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.

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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.

 

 

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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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