Whether two parents were never married or are getting divorced, it is important to always remember that they will likely have to co-parent and, sometimes, for years to come. Not only is positive co-parenting almost always in the best interests of children, but it is also for the benefit of the parents, as well. However, a particularly adversarial child custody battle can make it difficult for parents to then cooperate down the road.
When it comes to custody determinations, it is often preferable for parents to agree on a custody arrangement. If parents cannot agree, it is often because one parent is trying to get more physical custody time than the other. Without a settlement, the decision will be in the court’s hands. Each parent (through their lawyers) will present their case in open court, often getting into sensitive details and personal attacks against the other. When the court makes a decision regarding custody, not only might one or both parents be dissatisfied with the ruling, but they can also feel bitterness that can linger a long time after a custody trial. Such bitterness and disagreement do not set the stage for healthy co-parenting.
This is only one of many reasons why parents should try everything they can to reach a custody agreement without court intervention. Parents can often achieve this through negotiation by your attorneys or through mediation. Not only will reaching a custody agreement on your own help preserve civility between the parents, but can also save you time, money, and stress.
As part of your custody agreement, you and your child’s other parent will need to create a detailed parenting plan. Often, parents do not realize just how specific parenting plans can be. However, the more you hammer out now, the fewer disagreements may arise down the line. If a conflict does occur, you can refer to what the parenting agreement says to try to resolve the matter with as little stress as possible.
Parenting plans can address a wide variety of issues, including:
Of course, these agreements can address numerous other issues, and your lawyer can advise you of the many possible details you can include in your parenting agreement. Often, the more issues you address and agree on up front, the easier it can be to co-parent.
Co-parenting is not always easy, even for parents who naturally get along. Complications can arise if one parent marries someone else, wants to move, or experiences other life changes that can disrupt the co-parenting arrangement. Remember it is possible to modify your parenting plan and custody arrangement when necessary to keep the peace in your family and put your child’s needs first.
If you are facing a custody case or need to modify an existing order, the Law Offices of Piazza, Simmons & Grant, LLC is ready to help. Call our Stamford family law attorneys at (203) 348-2465 or contact us online.