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Co-parenting requires focus on best interests of the child

Divorcing parents in Montgomery County know firsthand that their children's best interests need to receive priority. And while they may agree upon that much in principle, determining what's in a child's best interests is subject is seldom a black-and-white issue in practice. Divorced parents, however, may try to follow a few tips to successfully co-parent their children after a split.

It can be helpful to try to respect one's boundaries when the child is with the other parent. Try to avoid demanding things that will impact the other parent's time with the child. On the other hand, if the other parent makes a request that can be reasonably accommodated - even it's not necessary, strictly speaking, to do so - showing flexibility and accommodating the request may not be a bad idea if it's something that could benefit the child. It may also pay off with flexibility shown in the other direction at some point down the road.

Parents should try to avoid passing judgment on each other in front of the children, as difficult as this can be given the different ways in which they likely run their households. Children should also not be told that their other parent cannot or will not pay for something the children want or need; bringing up finances in this way can be hurtful to a child. Managing the money and expenses out of sight of the children is usually a more effective strategy for co-parenting.

Of course, even parents determined to keep child custody disputes out of the courtroom should have a clear understanding of their legal rights and options in difficult situations. If one parent is acting inappropriately, perhaps by not respecting boundaries, being inflexible or talking down the other parent in front of the children, it may help to examine whether some detail in the custody or visitation arrangement is at the root of the problem. Seeking a modification to a parenting plan could help address any underlying problems, but asking a court to enforce the original decree may also be necessary in some situations.

A legal professional may be able to help divorced Montgomery County parents dealing with child custody disputes, whether they emerge during or after a divorce. Both parents typically will claim to want what's in the best interests of the child, but a legal professional can help establish an agreement as to what that means in day-to-day life.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Co-Parenting: 5 Steps to Avoiding Conflict Escalation," Diane L. Danois, Aug. 20, 2013

The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky
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Clarksville, TN 37040

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