Two Trends in Co-parenting After Divorce May Point to a Child Centered Solution
La Jolla, CA – Over the past few years, judges in counties across the United States have favored awarding joint or shared custody to parents whenever possible. In fact, last year, almost 40% of the states in our nation looked into instituting bills that would make co-parenting the default solution after divorce, the way awarding mother physical custody used to be the norm in the past. Clearly, co-parenting, in its various forms, is the way of the future for divorced families with children. While these can be very delicate arrangements in uncharted territory, some interesting trends have emerged.
The first of these is the style of co-parenting most suited to couples that simply cannot resolve issues through regular face to face or over the phone contact. This is a way to parent children together while remaining quite disengaged with your ex-spouse. It is also probably the preferred method for remarried co-parents to tackle the issues of raising their children without causing unnecessary strain on their current marital relationships.
In parallel parenting, there are often clearly delineated visitation times and holiday plans (for instance, odd years Christmas is with mom and even years, with dad) that are outlined far into the future. This way, parents don’t have to discuss them every year. Online calendar services such as 2Houses, geared specifically to divorced parenting pairs, help them keep track of their court ordered or agreed upon schedule without the need to incessantly check in with one another.
Custodial parents can even post pictures of the child’s vacation adventures, upload report cards, birth and social security records, and health records, etc. for the benefit of the other parent. This way, each parent can have access to the child and their sensitive information without having to be in constant contact with the other.
Also, many kids in parallel parenting arrangements are getting their own wristwatch-style phones. One popular one is the GizmoPal, which also has GPS tracking.
They are perfect for younger children who are notorious for misplacing traditional style phones. The custodial parent can program in his or her phone and the phone of their ex-spouse to be the only phones the child can call or receive calls from, for the child’s safety. This technology allows each parent to be able to reach their kid anytime when that child is in the other parent’s custody. It prevents the kind of frustration that can result when ex-spouses withhold communication with the child for whatever reason.
If you need help drafting a good co-parenting agreement for your parallel parenting situation, contact Griffith, Young & Lass at 1(858)367 3972.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is
The kind of arrangement only amicable parents could withstand for the sake of their children. Also, it is most feasible for those that have not remarried. Some divorced couples have taken to planning vacations together as a unit with their children. Their hope is to save money, provide a sense of normalcy in a difficult situation, and give their kids the sort of experience that would be hard to pull off alone–like DisneyWorld or an international trip.
Certainly, there are several potential challenges with this. First, it could foster a false hope in the minds of the children that their parents might reconcile. Secondly, vacations are generally stressful. A full daily schedule, an unfamiliar (though exciting) environment, and disrupted meal schedules could spell meltdowns even for the strongest married couples, let alone the divorced.
Witnessing parental conflict is very hard on the children, so if the goal is to benefit them, then parents would be wise to temper their reactions.
Of course, there are some very positive outcomes to vacationing together post-divorce. The children get to have an experience that is a very normal part of childhood, one many kids miss out on because of divorce. A commonly shared experience like a family vacation creates precious memories, strengthens bonds to each parent, and fosters a sense of security in children.
Also, family vacations can improve the actual co-parenting relationship between the divorced couple for years to come. The shared experience encourages a sense of goodwill towards the other parent, improving their cooperation regarding the kids in the future. Less conflict and more satisfaction between the parents means that the best interest of the children and not pettiness–remains central.
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