Schemery Zicolello

Co-parenting: could it be right for your family?

Divorce brings significant changes for every member of the family, but some of these changes can be particularly challenging for children. In order to minimize the impact that the end of a marriage can have on the youngest people in the home, some Pennsylvania parents choose to share custody through a co-parenting agreement.

Co-parenting is not the best choice for every family, but it could provide many benefits for both you and your kids as you move into the new territory of post-divorce life. With a strong co-parenting plan in place, you can both assert and defend your parental rights while still protecting the best interests of your children.

Why co-parent?

Co-parenting can allow you and the other parent to provide children the opportunity to have a strong relationship with both of you, even while sharing parenting time. The benefits to this particular custody plan include the following:

  • Allowing you to avoid litigation by developing a parenting plan through negotiations and discussions
  • Providing stability for children during a difficult time
  • Allowing you the opportunity to have more control over the outcome of your custody order
  • Helping both parents maintain the best interests of the kids, even during difficult times
  • Ensuring special needs are specifically addressed by the custody plan
  • Providing consistency and an example of positive problem-solving skills

While there are many advantages to this type of arrangement, you will find it beneficial to carefully evaluate your options before you agree to move forward with a co-parenting plan.

The elements of a successful co-parenting plan

A co-parenting plan develops through negotiations and thoughtful discussions about important issues. This can be difficult for parents who are going through the process of a divorce, but when emotions can be set aside for the sake of the children, everyone benefits. Any co-parenting plan should address the following issues:

  • Custody and visitation schedules
  • School and holiday schedules
  • Parental rights
  • Decision making authority for issues regarding religious upbringing
  • Discipline and rules for both households
  • Health care responsibility

This type of custody arrangement does not mean that ex-spouses must be best friends, but it does require a mutual desire to make post-divorce life as easy as possible for the kids.

When parents can find common ground to work together, it can simplify the transition to life in two different homes. Divorce is challenging, but there are ways that parents can shield their children from unnecessary emotional and mental duress. Having the counsel and advice of a legal professional will ensure that you understand every option available to you and that your rights and interests are protected.

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