The challenges of co-parenting for divorced fathers

Family law judges in Missouri and around the country consider the best interests of the child when making custody and visitation decisions, and that often results in co-parenting arrangements where mothers are the primary caregivers. This can be difficult for fathers who are used to seeing their children every day to accept, but the transition can be made easier, and the emotional damages suffered by the children involved minimized, if both parents work together.

Effective communication is crucial if co-parenting arrangements are to be successful. Arguing in front of children or communicating through children can be traumatic for all involved and are clear signs that divorced parents still harbor animosity toward one another. When conflict is an ongoing problem, divorced fathers may be wise to document all of their interactions with their children and former spouses in preparation for possible future legal actions.

Disputes sometimes flare up over the rights of a father when mothers handle the less glamorous aspects of parenting, such as making sure that school work is completed and meting out discipline, while fathers show up on weekends to take their children to theme parks or zoos. This can nurture resentment and jealousy and lead to fierce arguments. According to experts, a detailed parenting plan that allocates responsibilities fairly and clearly is the best way to avoid this pitfall.

Even parents who agree on little else are usually able to reach an understanding when the welfare and happiness of their children is at stake, but an amicable agreement is sometimes reached only after prolonged and bitter negotiations. When custody and visitation talks become deadlocked, experienced family law attorneys may suggest exploring alternative and more cooperative approaches such as mediation in search of a compromise. Attorneys could also petition to have custody and visitation arrangements modified if one of the parents involved has developed drug or alcohol problems and could be placing children in danger.

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