In Missouri, father’s rights with respect to their children can become vulnerable during the divorce process. However, while it used to be that the court system favored mothers, many courts are now considering other alternatives to better involve fathers, including physical and legal custody, along with joint custody that revolves around co-parenting.
When looking at custody, keep in mind that the deciding factor of whether custody is joint or sole is dependent on the best interests of the children, not necessarily the best interests of the parents.
When looking at divorce, custody decisions and parenting, anyone would agree that two parents who are in a contentious relationship are doing more harm than good when it comes to their children. In fact, parental conflict that continues on after a divorce, and that is visible to the children, can have a real impact — often negative — on development. This is because not only have the children lost one of their parents, they also remain entangled in conflict.
However, even if two parents do not agree with one another during or after a marriage, this does not mean that they cannot successfully co-parent their children. If parents can come together and put their differences aside, then their children have a better likelihood of exhibiting more confidence, adjusting better and may even perform better academically.
To try and have co-parenting run smoother, it’s recommended to setup well-defined schedules, including dates and times. This can help to remove ambiguity from each parent’s shared responsibilities. Sharing an online calendar and keeping the lines of communication open can also address the weekly agenda without the presence of the child.
In the end, the advice is to not make children decide between parents. This can be exhausting and stressful for children. Instead, put differences aside and act almost as business partners to raise children who have a loving relationship between both their mother and their father.
Source: Deseret News, “Parenting under two roofs: Focusing on the children after divorce,” Rachel Lowry, Oct. 21, 2012