In the State of Texas, co-parenting (sometimes called shared parenting) is a term you have probably heard discussed in the context of divorce without much more information. Generally, shared parenting to an arrangement in which divorced parents who coordinate their efforts to raise their children – even after they have made the decision to end their marriage. While co-parenting can be rewarding for parents and children alike, it can also present some significant difficulties.
Your Married Life
As a married couple, you and your spouse likely shared parenting responsibilities on a daily basis – without thinking much about it. You both filled your parental roles, and ideally, your parenting styles complemented each other and provided your children with the love, support, guidance, and structure they need to thrive. Divorce, however, changes the situation considerably, but it does not mean that you have to let go of your goal of successfully co-parenting. (Primary Concerns of a Divorcing Parents)
Considering Your Options
There is no reason that you have to go into your negotiations regarding custody arrangements with any preconceived notions. The fact is that if you can hammer out arrangements you can both live with, you are welcome to do so – regardless of whether they follow the cookie-cutter schedule templates that many divorcing parents rely upon. You are a unique family, and once you factor in your unique scheduling concerns and your children’s unique needs, you may find land upon a unique co-parenting plan that works well for you. (Having a hard time agreeing on custody arrangements? Click here to learn how to handle it)
The first thing to consider when it comes to custody is legal custody, which refers to who will make important decisions related to your children’s education, health care, extracurriculars, and religious upbringing. In the vast majority of cases (except in extreme circumstances), both parents share legal custody. (Read more about divorce and your children's school)
Hammering Out a Co-Parenting Plan
Divorce is stressful, and one of the most stressful components can be determining child custody arrangements. If you and your divorcing spouse do not see eye to eye on the issue, there are things that you can do to help nudge you toward an acceptable compromise, including:
- Discussing options that address your family’s unique needs between yourselves
- Negotiating through your respective family law attorneys (if the lines of communication have broken down)
- Attending mediation, where a professional mediator who is a neutral third-party will help you find consensus (Learn more about how mediation can help you)
The most important thing to remember is that once you take the matter before the court, you relinquish your opportunity to make this very important and very personal decision. While the court is always motivated by the best interests of the children, the presiding judge simply cannot understand your children’s needs and best interests the way you, their parents, do.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today
Finding co-parenting terms that work for your family is critical to your ability to move forward after your divorce, and attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is well-positioned to help you find your best path forward. We are here for you and your family, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.