Co-parenting is more than just a new trend in child custody agreements. It’s a respected child-care strategy that’s subtly supported by law. The 2008 Parenting Bill, for one, aims to engage both parents in the process of raising their child with a practical plan that’s fleshed out pre-divorce (whether in litigation or collaborative proceedings).
Co-parenting pushes to open doors for communication rather than shutting out one parent through the limited structure of a primary and secondary caregiver arrangement. It offers both divorcees the freedom to parent.
Want to know more about time-sharing custody? Check out our breakdown of co-parenting from the initial plans to post-divorce dealings.
The Importance of a Co-Parenting Plan
A co-parenting plan is more than just an agreement to share custody — although it does include provisions on time-sharing. Similar to any parenting plan, a co-parenting agreement should outline expectations regarding everything from child support to education and religion preferences, as well as how and at what point in a relationship you or your ex may introduce new partners.
A solid co-parenting plan not only ensures your child’s welfare, but holds both you and your ex accountable through a binding, legal document.
Co-Parenting After Divorce: Emphasizing Freedom to Parent
Once a co-parenting plan is established, each parent has a responsibility to uphold the agreement —which gives way to “freedom to parent.” The idea being that when a child is at one time in the custody of either parent, that parent is the primary caregiver and he or she has the freedom to make parenting decisions (with the co-parenting contract in mind, of course). Co-rearing empowers each parent, which in turn improves communication.
It’s important to note that regardless of the co-parenting plan, some exceptions will be made. Harmful parenting that jeopardizes your child’s health should never be tolerated; however, flexibility must be given when it comes to nurturing choices that you may disagree with. Unless your ex’s parenting fundamentally defies the agreement for a prolonged period of time, then you may not interfere with his or her power to parent.
Is Co-Parenting the Right Option for You?
Short answer: You may not have a choice. Since the introduction of the 2008 Parenting Bill, judges increasingly move toward 50/50 custody arrangements. Because of this legislation, parental responsibility is bestowed more freely and only reconsidered in cases where one parent might pose a threat to the child.
Collaborative divorce, however, does provide an alternative route for parents who may wish to draw up a more creative arrangement. Through open and honest communication, this two-way option could provide insight into a more ideal, unencumbered parenting or co-parenting plan.
Want to explore your options when it comes to co-parenting? Contact Dean G. Tsourakis today to schedule a free consultation with a collaborative divorce attorney with experience in family law and child custody.
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on Oct 6, 2014