From the Cerney Divorce Blog
‘Child Custody’ is becoming an outdated concept. The courts in our country have begun to recognize that awarding custody to one parent objectifies kids and leads to years of resentfulness on the other side. Many states now view and talk about parenting and child care to help families cope with divorce.
New guidelines in these states reflect the current research on kids of divorce. Basically,
Most important to note about how children cope with divorce – parental conflict is key to their adjustment during and after divorce. The more intense and frequent your conflict with the other parent around child-related issues like vacations, schools, extra-curricular activities, medical and religious decisions, the stronger the negative impact on your child.
Though you don’t want to create unnecessary conflict with your ex, what can you do when you disagree with his or her parenting style or judgment? If you believe that he or she can have a negative effect on your child? Or, if the situation is reversed, and you are on the defensive about your parenting style and abilities?
Either side of this coin can lead to a drawn out legal battle. You and your ex may not agree on the components of a parenting plan. One of you may want to fight in court over these decisions.
These decisions are in the areas of:
Just know that it will be difficult to get sole decision-making authority in these four areas.
Research shows that kids are better adjusted with both parents involved in decision-making. This research is based on fairly ‘average’ families, where conflict is also in the ‘average’ range. This is also easiest for the court – splitting things down the middle requires little thought.
Research shows that kids do best when they have access and ongoing relationships with both parents. This research is also based on families where there are no extenuating circumstances, such as a parent with an addiction, a high conflict parent, or an abusive parent.
Generally, courts follow this research and like to see both parents have ‘generous’ amounts of parenting time.
What does this mean? Most likely, your child is going to spend a fair amount of time between your two homes.
In some states, the number of overnights a child spends in each parent’s home dictates how child support is calculated. The idea here is that, if a child is spending a significant amount of time in two homes, the funds needed to support him or her should also be allocated there.
So, rather than have one parent called “residential parent”, the child resides in both homes.
When possible, work with a mediator, parenting planner, and/orto get these issues resolved outside of court. Even when you have two attorneys, it is possible to work with a parenting planner on your own to develop a plan for your divorce. My work with parents has been successful in getting their parenting plan completed outside of the court system.
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