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Among the biggest fights and issues that need to be resolved in family court, whether for a divorce or as a separate case is child custody and parenting time.
CO-PARENTING IS HARD WORK BUT IT IS WORTH IT
Whether you see your child everyday, every other week, every other month or another variation of parenting time, either way, parents need to co-parent. One parent is no supreme over the other, no parent is perfect and children deserve to know that both parents care.
If you can place your feelings aside, if you co-parent effectively your child's needs for love, food, shelter, security and discipline can be met. When you do not work together, your child can become confused over the mixed messages, feel responsible for conflicts and/or not have proper discipline.
PLACE YOUR CHILD'S NEEDS FIRST
That little kid or soon to be grown up did not ask to be part of this world, the parents made that decision and the parents must work together to obtain the best life for their child. It is absolutely critical that your child knows that: he or she is not to blame for the divorce or separation, what is going on between the parents (not from a litigation standpoint), that they are still loved despite the changes they see, that he or she can love both parents, that it is ok to talk about his or her feelings.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TEAM YOU WILL EVER BE ON, THE PARENTING TEAM
While every team has its own chemistry, the chemistry that the team is built on was not built on after one practice, one game or even one season, in short it takes time. Just like joining a new team or new job, it is very important to respect the members of your team. Be polite when you speak to mom or dad. You will only get bigger legal bills if you do not give this team your best effort.
SHARE PARENTING RESPONSIBILITIES AND DO NOT USE YOUR CHILD TO SPY ON THE OTHER PARENT
Part of any great team or any great athlete is to know one's strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yourself is the first step to improvement. If you know you cannot stand attending your daughter's dance classes, start small. Start with staying for a little while and gradually you will enjoy it because you will see your child's joy and your child's attempts to get better. While the dance class is an example, it is critical to work with your teammate/co-parent with regard to things you may not want to do or may not enjoy for the sake of the team and in essence for the sake of the child. Children can detect when a parent is upset or stressed out, mitigate that by helping as much as you can.
SET CLEAR RULES
Setting clear rules is difficult even in an intact family home, it can be even harder when there are two homes and less communication. However, because of the fact that you no longer reside in the same home, it is more important than ever to set clear rules that both teammates must follow in order for the team to win. While disagreements will happen, that does not mean you should give up or fight to the point where both of you are at each other's throats. Calm down, take a step back and try to figure it out again after both of you have calmed down (this can take 5 minutes for some, this can take days and weeks for others).
The most important rules to create and follow are:
The list I used is to the point as I can fill a library with different potential issues that can be addressed now or in the future. Again, the key is placing your feelings of sadness or anger aside, it is about your child not you. You will not win, nor will your former spouse if you cannot agree to agree. Divorce is hard, parenting whether married or divorced is hard. Persistence and keeping in mind how important your child is to you will, in time, help you get passed the anger and disgust you may feel now. So whether you are divorced, have a child with someone and do not live together, are getting a divorce, setting firm parameters will help set you free. Work with an experienced divorce/family law attorney to help you think clearly and to know your rights because in the end, it is about our children.
For more information about my practice, visit my webpage on www.topjerseycitydivorcelawyers.com or call us on 201-706-7910 today.