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What do I need to know about co-parenting?
Shared custody is far more common than sole custody, meaning that most divorced parents have to learn how to co-parent. This can certainly be a challenge, but doing a good job of it is absolutely in your children’s best interests. To help, here are a few things you should know.
One of the keys to doing this well is to have open communication with your ex. You can discuss schedules, grades, the children’s physical and mental health, and much more. You need to be able to talk to each other about the kids, no matter how you feel about each other personally.
Time isn’t always divided equally
Co-parenting and sharing custody does not mean you both get custody 50% of the time. You may have more or less time with the kids than your ex. Additionally, you need to consider your legal custody rights, which include making decisions for the children and may be given out independently from physical custody rights.
It is best to have consistent rules
You are going to have things that you disagree on, but you want to provide consistency whenever possible. If one parent is going to ensure that the children always do their homework, for instance, the other parent needs to do the same.
It can be challenging
You are going to face a lot of challenges. What should you do if you don’t agree on the rules around the house? Who gets to be with the children on Christmas morning or on their birthday? Is it best for you to communicate by phone, text or email? These are all important questions you’re going to ask, and they all bring their own challenges.
This shouldn’t stop you from being an excellent parent, however. You just need to accept these challenges, confront them head-on and understand what legal options you have.