Tips for successful co-parenting in Alabama

Although divorce signifies the end of a marriage between two people, for some couples it also signifies the beginning of a new type of relationship. For those who have children, a divorce is not the end. In most cases, the couple must continue to communicate with each other.

There are many different types of relationships parents can establish in this situation. Some couples choose the sole custody route, where one parent retains physical custody and all responsibility for the children. Recently, co-parenting has gained popularity among many divorcing couples.

Cooperative, or co-parenting, refers to a relationship that allows both parents to continue to play an active role in their children's lives.

Although co-parenting can be more difficult on the parents than other forms of parenting plans used after divorce, family professionals note that kids from successful co-parenting relationships often feel more secure and are able to resolve conflicts more effectively because they have seen their parents peacefully solve problems.

Co-parenting success

Successful co-parenting relationships require:

  • A schedule
  • Residential proximity
  • Acceptance

One tip for successful co-parenting is to work together to develop a schedule. Although there will be some differences in the day to day schedules of each home, some consistency is important to children. Deciding to have similar bedtimes, mealtimes or homework schedules in each house can provide children with a sense of stability.

Parents will also need to communicate effectively in order to put together a schedule for the children. Approaching the conversation with an ex like a business discussion can help. Discussing the schedule in a neutral manner and making requests instead of demands can result in a more fruitful conversation.

It can also be helpful to include extended family members in the scheduling discussion. Take summer vacations and holiday breaks into account. Also, make sure both parents and extended family members are aware of school events and extracurricular activities like soccer matches so that they can attend and show the child their support.

Since children thrive on consistency, residential proximity is also important to a successful co-parenting relationship. If the mother and father both live in the same area, the children can continue their relationships with friends and still partake in extracurricular activities regardless of which parent's home they reside in.

Cooperative parenting also requires each parent to refrain from criticizing each other. Each parent will have his or her own parenting style. Although it is important to recognize that there are differences, do not criticize the other parent unless there is a danger to the child.

Alabama law on child custody and visitation

Courts in Alabama favor joint child custody. This does not necessarily translate to equal physical custody, but does mean the court encourages children have continuing relationships with both parents.

In order to determine physical custody, Alabama courts refer to the best interest of the child standard. This can include the parent's input, location of each parent and whether the parents are cooperating with the court and each other.

If granted, joint custody provides an excellent opportunity for cooperative parenting. If you are considering a divorce or attempting to navigate through the child custody laws, contact an experienced child custody attorney to discuss your situation and better ensure your legal rights are protected.

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