Divorcing parents in Florida who want to lessen the impact on their children now have a new tool: "co-parenting." It's a concept that can de-emphasize some of the thornier child custody issues in the parenting equation and allow both parents to more equally share in the responsibilities of raising their children.
Since mothers are most often awarded physical custody of minor children, fathers are frequently asked to do little more than exercise visitation rights. In co-parenting, however, both parents agree to confer on all major points in parenting. This effectively increases the noncustodial parent's involvement in child-rearing while lightening the custodial parent's burden. Experts say that both parents working in the best interests of the child or children can make a big difference in the effects of a marital dissolution on them.
Experts stress that co-parenting is a skill that takes effort to learn; this means that both parents must put personal differences or anger aside for the sake of the kids. While requiring a modicum of maturity, trust and clear communication, co-parenting can be more rewarding for all parties involved than the standard visitation plan followed in many divorce agreements.
Co-parenting is a set of skills that social workers and psychologists can assist divorcing parents to learn. An experienced child custody attorney, however, may be able to help with the many divisive legal issues involved in divorce. Such a lawyer might be able to go to court and work out child custody, child support, visitation and many other concerns facing a couple ending their marriage. No matter what other agreements are reached, couples can take a big step forward by putting their co-parenting plan down in writing.
Source: Lancaster Online, "Learn to co-parent successfully after divorce", Kimberly Marselas, July 23, 2013