On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Making the choice to co-parent is never a simple decision. Many Florida parents make the choice to co-parent because they wish to provide as much stability as possible for their children, but that does not mean that the path will be an easy one. Agreeing to this type of parenting plan requires careful consideration and a willingness to set aside personal gain for the well-being of the children.
Co-parenting requires cooperation between two parents on all matters pertaining to their children. It usually involves sharing custody time and parental authority. While co-parenting does not require that two former spouses remain best friends, it does require a sense of mutual willingness to put the kids first. The foundation of any good co-parenting plan is a strong, thoughtfully-drafted agreement.
Why Should We Co-Parent?
Parents who are going through a divorce may not feel that they can talk to each other peacefully, let alone work together to continue to parent their children. Despite these difficulties, many still make this choice because it provides the following opportunities and benefits:
- Allows children to have stability and continuity of lifestyle during a difficult time
- Demonstrates cooperation and problem-solving skills
- Allows for more control over the final outcome of a custody plan
- Provides a healthy example for the children
- Allows children to be more secure and emotionally healthy by maintaining a strong relationship with both parents, even after the divorce
If you choose to take this approach after your divorce, you would be wise to work with a lawyer who can help you draft an agreement aligned with your needs and objectives.
The elements of a strong co-parenting plan
Co-parenting effectively begins by drafting a plan that accounts for all issues that could affect the children, both today and in the future. This includes:
- Parenting time
- Parental decision-making authority
- Religious upbringing
- School schedules
- Educational preferences
- College savings
- Health care
- Extracurricular activities and transportation
- Special emotional or physical needs
- Holiday schedules
- Grandparent visitation
The assistance of an experienced Fort Lauderdale family law attorney can be an invaluable asset as you work through the details and issues of your co-parenting plan. By taking the time to ensure that all matters have been addressed, you can avoid future conflicts and continue to work together. Divorce is hard, but choosing to parent together can be of great benefit to the youngest members of your family.