9 Tips For Great Co-Parenting

In a divorce that involves children, co-parenting is one of the most important aspects of helping kids feel safe and secure during this difficult time, and for years to follow. But without the ability to compromise, some couples find that they can’t agree on the most basic issues of parenting.

co-parenting

Disagreement on major issues of parenting often leads to conflict that can make a divorce even more complicated. That’s why divorcing couples who have children should create a parenting agreement with the understanding that through compromise they can find solutions that are in the best interest of their children.

As you begin this challenging process of co-parenting, there are some things you should keep in mind that can help things go smoother.

Don’t Malign or Alienate the Other Parent to Your Children if You Want A Successful Co-parenting Relationship 

One of the worst things you can do is to criticize the other parent in front of your children. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many parents try to make children their allies against the other parent during and after a divorce.

Maligning or alienating the other parent creates confusion, anger and resentment in your children, and makes it nearly impossible for you to come to any agreement with the person with whom you will be sharing parenting duties.

Show Respect to the Other Parent

Successful co-parenting requires mutual respect between you and the other parent. If you make a habit of positively acknowledging the other parent’s efforts, and respecting their reasonable viewpoints on the important aspects of childrearing, you will promote an atmosphere of trust. Moreover, you will make it much easier to resolve any disagreements that might arise, because these issues are more likely to be resolved with maturity and respect instead of grappling with resentment and hostility.

Make Communication a Top Priority

Communication is one of the keys to every successful relationship, and while that may not have been true for you during the marriage, it must be the cornerstone of your co-parenting efforts.

The truth is, communicating about parenting issues is very different than talking about your innermost feelings with your former spouse. You don’t have to be face-to-face to talk about issues related to the children. In fact, the ubiquity of mobile devices has rendered personal interaction obsolete, to a degree.

Make communication a priority in co-parenting, and inform the other parent about changes in a visitation schedule, changes in an agreed-upon pickup time, or even upcoming activities such as a school play or a dance.

When both parents are fully aware of what the other parent is doing, planning on doing or unable to do, it makes the co-parenting process more harmonious.

Give Your Kids the Freedom to Express Their Feelings

One of the biggest mistakes divorcing parents make is not giving their children the opportunity to voice their fears and concerns. Your kids are often the ones most affected by the divorce, and regardless of how well you co-parent, ignoring or not allowing them to express their feelings openly, will most certainly affect them negatively. Encourage your children to talk about how they’re feeling about the whole process, and explain to them how the co-parenting will work so they understand the changes that are coming. Above all, reassure them that they are still loved and cherished, despite the dissolution of the marriage. You may also wish to seek a reputable family counselor who will help your kids express their feelings in a way that is empowering to their well-being and their sense of self-worth as an integral member of the changing family structure.

Get On the Same Discipline Page

Challenges with co-parenting occur when children misbehave at times and the parent’s discipline in widely different ways.  This causes confusion and increases the likelihood that the kids will soon learn which parent is less strict, and modify their behavior accordingly.

To avoid this problem, get on the same discipline page as the other parent, and make sure that you have a unified set of consequences or discipline methods when your children misbehave. When your kids realize that both parents are united in discipline and behavioral modification methods, they are more likely to curb a negative behavior.

Don’t Avoid Family Activities

Although it may be difficult at first, it is important that you don’t avoid family activities, such as going to see your children play at a game or having an outing together.

You and the other parent are no longer a couple, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan some family activities that require both of you to be present. Remember, co-parenting is all about the children, not about rehashing the problems that led to your divorce.

Share Cool Things You Did With Your Kids

If you took the children on a camping trip for the weekend, or you went to an amusement park, make sure you share the experience with the other parent through videos and photos. This helps cement the co-parenting bond and helps the other parent to feel invested in the process.

Re-evaluate the Plan

It is important for you to re-evaluate your co-parenting plan every few months with the other parent to make sure things are proceeding well. This can include any adjustments that need to be made in the visitation schedule or the number of overnights that the other parent receives.

Learn To Ignore Minor Annoyances

Co-parenting involves a series of compromises, so it is best to learn to ignore minor annoyances that are not worth starting a conflict with the other parent over. Don’t be a stickler for every minor detail in the parental agreement. Learning not to nitpick over small things can help make the co-parenting process much smoother, and will encourage the other parent not to sweat the small stuff either.

Getting the Legal Help You Deserve

Co-parenting is the foundation for effectively caring for the children you share with an ex-spouse. If you are in the process of a divorce, and you want to create a Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan that includes how you and your soon-to-be former spouse will share parenting duties, hiring a family law attorney is most certainly in your best interest and the best interest of your children.

The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. and his experienced team can help negotiate a Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan that is fair and that protects all your rights as a parent. If you would like to learn how we can help, call us today at 561-655-8844.

Additional Reading

Do I Need To Take A Divorce Parenting Class In Florida?

Steps To Protecting Children Emotionally During a Divorce

Five Child Relocation Considerations And How it will Affect Child Custody

Summertime is a popular time for people to think about moving, whether it’s to a bigger house in the same neighborhood, or to a different city or state because of a job.  When relocating, you might be considering what part of town and style of house you’d like to live in and whether your new home will be in proximity to schools and shops.  When child relocation involves custody issues, whether pre- or post-divorce, there are additional things you might want to consider before you relocate.

  1. How far are you planning on moving?  

Whether you are moving within the State of Florida or moving out of state, where you are moving to, and how far the location is from your current residence is an important consideration.  Under child relocation laws, if you decide to move more than fifty miles from your current residence, then you are required to file a petition that informs the court and your ex-spouse of your intent to move.  This is required even if your divorce and parenting plan/custody agreement is still pending.

  1. Talk to your ex-spouse

If you are considering a move, you may be able to avoid filing a petition if your ex-spouse consents to the relocation in a written agreement.  This agreement must define the time-sharing rights of both parents or any other person who may be entitled to visitation, and it must describe any transportation agreements related to visitation.  Of course, the Court should sign off on this agreement.

  1. Be prepared to provide detailed information about your planned relocation 

When filing a petition or reaching an agreement with your ex-spouse, you should be able to provide information on your new residence, when you intend to move, why you are planning on moving, and you will also have to propose a post-move time-sharing schedule and transportation arrangement.

  1. It may be a while before you can actually move

If you file a petition for child relocation with the court, you cannot relocate during the time period that your ex-spouse has time to object to your petition, which is generally twenty days.  Moreover, if your ex-spouse does object to your move, you cannot move without court approval.  After your ex-spouse objects, there likely will be a hearing where the court will decide whether to allow the move.

  1. Above all, you should consider the best interests of your child, as this is the primary issue that the court considers when deciding whether to allow the relocation.

It is always important to consider the impact that a move might have on your child.  Remember that they too will be starting over.  Maybe they will be attending a new school and will have to make new friends.  In addition, the best interests of the child are what the court considers when determining whether to grant a relocation.  Relocation cannot be based solely upon a finding that the move would serve the best interests of the parent and not their child.

Overview of Florida’s Relocation Law

Under Florida law relocation means that a parent is relocating at least fifty miles from their current residence and that they intend to live there for at least sixty consecutive days.  This definition does not include temporary relocations for purposes of education, vacation, or providing the child with health care.

If you are seeking to relocate, you should either provide the court with a written agreement regarding the relocation or file a petition to relocate.  If you and your ex-spouse can reach a consensus on the relocation, then a written agreement may be the best way to obtain approval from the court.  The written agreement must contain:

(a) the consent of both parents regarding the relocation;
(b) a custody time-sharing schedule that specifically addresses visitation for the parent who is not relocating; and
(c) a transportation arrangement that is necessary to achieve the time-sharing schedule.

Without an agreement, any parent who wants to relocate must file a petition with the court.  Florida law very specifically outlines what must be included in the petition, and if properly filed, in most cases there will be a hearing to determine whether the petition for child relocation should be granted.  The parent who is seeking to relocate must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the move is in the best interest of the child.  The court considers the following when making a decision on child relocation:

  • The relationship that the child has with the relocating and non-relocating parent, and whether there are other significant relationships, such as with relatives who live nearby;
  • The age and the needs of the child and whether the relocation will impact their development;
  • Whether the relationship that the child has with the non-relocating parent can be preserved;
  • Whether the child has a preference;
  • Whether the quality of life will be enhanced for both the relocating parent and the child;
  • Any pros and cons of the relocation as provided by the parents;
  • The economic circumstances of the parents and whether relocating will improve those circumstances;
  • Whether the relocating parent is seeking to move in good faith;
  • Whether there are any job opportunities for the parent who objects to the relocation if that parent also decides to relocate to stay close to the child;
  • Whether there is any history of substance abuse or domestic violence;
  • Any other factors that might affect the best interest of the child.

It is important to note that anyone who has a legal right to visitation with a minor child such as a grandparent, step-parent, or guardian, who might lose visitation or time-sharing with the child, has the same rights as the parents to file an objection to a relocation and make their case before the court.

Contact Our Dedicated and Knowledgeable West Palm Beach Family Law Attorney

If you are planning to move this summer with your child or even if your ex-spouse is moving away with your child it is important that you consult with an experienced Attorney.  Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. is dedicated exclusively to divorce and family law, and as such, we will advocate for your rights and interests in any related pre- or post-divorce cases.  Call us today at (561) 655-8844 to schedule your consultation and find out what we can do for you.

 

Reasons for Child Relocation That Are Considered by the Courts

Child relocation cases require balancing the needs of both parents and the child. Luckily, parents can’t just decide to move away from the other parent.  If a new custody agreement cannot be reached between the parents, then the court gets involved to make changes to the child custody agreement. There are many reasons for child relocation that are considered by the court.  A court might adjust a custody agreement to allow for relocation for the following reasons.

Economics

Economic reasons for child relocation are often cited in relocation petitions. In fact, even when other factors motivate the request, the court will look at the likely economic impact of a possible move. It is a logical approach since a family’s economic situation clearly affects the child’s well-being. While a parent moving out of state can create visitation difficulties for the other parent, courts recognize that adults sometimes need to move because they are being transferred by their current employer or have significantly better job opportunities in a different location. In this situation, the courts seek to determine what is in the best interest of the child by weighing the potential economic benefits against the possibility of damaging the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Remarriage

When a parent remarries, they may petition the courts for permission to join their new spouse in a different state. Alternately, they may seek a change in the existing custody order because of their current spouse, the child’s stepparent, needs to relocate for professional reasons. Since the child is likely to benefit from the pooling of their new family unit’s resources, courts will consider the potential for good, the necessity of the move and the chance that it will disrupt the other parent’s relationship with their child.

Relationships with Extended Family

It is not uncommon for parents to ask to relocate so that they can be closer to their extended family. Most argue that being near other family members will provide a stronger support network and afford them assistance with childcare so that the parent can work or further their education. If the court is convinced that the move will offer the child advantages, it may allow it. However, the request may be viewed unfavorably if the court feels that the move will create a needless disturbance in the child’s environment or generate unreasonable hardships for the other parent.

Personal Reasons for Child Relocation

Other personal reasons for child relocation can be also be used. For example, parents who request a change in the custody agreement so that they can move to join a new romantic partner may find the court willing to allow it if they can convince the court that the move will ultimately create a better situation for the child. However, if both parents are actively involved and have a healthy relationship with their child, one parent may be able to block the petition by arguing that it would unnecessarily interfere with their parental rights.

Related articles about Child Relocation:

The issue of child custody is delicate and complex. In any child custody relocation case, all relevant factors are weighed to determine whether a move is in the child’s best interests. In this complicated situation, it is crucial that you have an attorney capable of guiding you through the process and safeguarding your interests. With more than 25 years of experience in divorce and family law, attorney Eric C. Cheshire has the knowledge and integrity to provide assistance with a variety of child custody issues. Contact Cheshire Family Law today to schedule a consultation.

Florida Child Relocation after Divorce

Divorce is a stressful time for all parties involved. It is a life-changing situation especially when children are involved. The stress is exacerbated further when custodial parent relocation becomes a point of contention. If a parent wants to implement a child relocation after divorce, the matter becomes even more complex and sometimes more contentious.

Florida Law: Child Relocation After Divorce

Florida Statutes concerning relocation are focused on what is best for minor children and protecting the rights of non-custodial parents. If the relocation means moving more than 50 miles from the non-custodial parent, the relocating parent will have to inform the courts and the former spouse by using the Intent to Relocate form. The laws specify formal written consent. However, even when the other party consents, the Court may still step in to review the petition.

When the Ex-spouse Objects

The non-custodial parent has 30 days to contest the petition in writing. Relocation cannot take place until after the petition has been heard and decided by a judge. Cases involving child relocation after divorce cannot normally be adjudicated in a day, so plan for a waiting period when scheduling the moving van.

Factors Considered in Custodial Parent Relocation Cases

In most cases, the custodial parent’s decision to move is well intentioned. Relocation may be due to a job opportunity or the need to be closer to the family who can help with childcare. Nonetheless, procedures are in place to ensure that the move will not interfere with the visitation agreement set forth in the divorce decree. The primary custodial parent must be prepared to offer alternatives should the move limit the non-custodial parent’s ability to spend time with the child.

The Court will also focus on how relocation will affect the children’s quality of life specifically their relationship with the other parent and other people important to them. An emotional, mental and physical impact of child relocation will be examined in detail during the hearings, taking into consideration the child’s age and any special needs that should be addressed.

Other relocation factors that will be taken into consideration include justifications cited by the parent contesting the petition along with any allegations of abuse or neglect on the part of either party.

The Role of a Lawyer In Child Relocation after divorce Cases

The custodial parent needs to present a compelling case in front of the judge hearing the case. Family courts are attuned to the dynamics of divorce and would not look favorably on any party seeking to skirt the conditions of the divorce decree. It is best to consult an attorney with relevant experience, knowledge of local laws and familiarity with relocation factors to make sure that the petition moves forward in a timely manner. After all, it is in the best interests of minor children that parents are able to move on with their lives.

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