Incorporating coparenting into your child custody agreement

Divorce is not easy for children, but this does not mean that parents should avoid ending unhappy marriages. While divorce might be difficult for everyone involved, the outcome is usually well worth the time, efforts and emotions. However, some Arizona parents feel confused when trying to figure out the best possible child custody arrangement.

Coparenting is an increasingly popular way of handling child custody after a divorce. With this approach, parents let go of the idea of one parent being primary while the other acts as more of a weekend visitor. Instead, parents agree to continue a parenting relationship even after ending their marital one.

Cooperation is important

Coparenting requires a high level of cooperation from both parents. This might seem like a laughable idea -- after all, you and your ex did not decide to call things off because you were getting along well. Coparenting might be hard at first, but you will probably overcome any significant obstacles early on, making the rest of your parenting relationship much easier.

Even if you think you will struggle to cooperate, remember the benefits for your child. Children in coparenting situations often enjoy more consistent involvement from both of their parents than their peers who are in different custody situations. This means it might be worth it to try and make it work.

You don't have to be perfect

Perfect parents do not exist, but parents who consistently show up for their children certainly do. You might be wondering if your presence is enough, though. For example, if you and your ex constantly fight over how to handle certain parenting decisions, will your child still benefit from coparenting?

A group of researchers recently decided to look into this exact question. They examined a group of divorced adults using coparenting in their child custody agreements, and then categorized them based on their levels of conflict with their ex-spouses. Researchers concluded that parents in high conflict coparenting relationships knew just about as much about their children's daily lives as those parents in cooperative coparenting relationships. Benefits for children across these different relationship types were roughly the same as well.

Is coparenting right for you?

From concerns over money to uncertainty regarding their own feelings, people delay filing for divorce for any number of reasons. For many Arizona parents, deciding to file for divorce often hinges upon concerns over their children. As an active and involved parent, you might be worried that your relationships with your child will suffer if you file for divorce.

Child custody agreements can take many different forms and are more malleable than most people might expect. This means that you can take the time to find a solution that truly works for your family's unique situation. Since custody is no small matter and should not be taken lightly, you might benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney before making any decisions.

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