In a perfect world, divorced couples can put their differences aside and parent cooperatively with one another. They put their heads together and come to an agreement on major issues such as house rules and education. They support one another in their parenting decisions. They’re even able to attend events together harmoniously.
Unfortunately, in reality co-parenting arrangements do not always work. Sometimes both parents play a role in this. They’re simply too angry, or they have too many philosophical differences to co-parent. Sadly, there are also situations where one parent behaves in a manner that makes co-parenting impossible.
Let's take a look at some common co-parenting problems and how to resolve them.
Common Behaviors That Impact Co-Parenting Success
Here are a few things that parents do that can sabotage a co-parenting relationship:
- Attempting to control their ex’s home under the guise of parenting,
- Undermining rules and limitations to become the favored parent.
- Using the child to keep tabs on the other parent and household.
- Behaving in ways that are abusive or emotionally unhealthy for the child.
- Harming or threatening to harm the other parent.
- Being disruptive or causing problems at shared events or custody exchanges.
Even the most reasonable parent cannot co-parent with someone who is determined not to. One alternative is parallel parenting. This is an arrangement where each parent establishes their own rules and routines for their parenting time without consulting one another. They limit communication to just the major issues.
Potential Legal Action When Co-Parenting Efforts Fail
When one or both parents realizes that co-parenting isn't working, they have several legal options available to them. Denver family law allows for parenting plans and other divorce agreements to be modified. This can happen during divorce proceedings, or after the divorce has been finalized.
Every divorcing couple with minor children is expected to fill out a comprehensive parenting plan. The form covers everything from decision-making on health and other major issues to holiday schedules to the time and place where visiting exchanges will take place. When this plan no longer works, or parents cannot agree, a family lawyer can help. Anyone who wishes to modify a parenting agreement, or to create one with or without the cooperation of the other parent can do so with the help of a lawyer. Here are some changes that may be suggested:
- Conducting custody exchanges at a neutral location.
- Limiting communication between the parents to email or other formal channels.
- Including other provisions to their parenting plan - a section that parents can use to agree on or make requests of the court on things that are unique to their situation, and not covered elsewhere.
Parents should know that a parenting plan can be filed with three options. Parents can both sign and indicate that they both agree to the plan entirely. Both parents can sign with the stipulation that there is some disagreement. Or one parent can complete the plan and submit it without input or agreement from the other parent.
Child Custody Alternatives
When nothing else works, it may be time to consult a divorce attorney about changing child custody and visitation arrangements. There are several options here. For example, parents can:
- Seek an increase in their time with their child
- Request supervised visitation
- Ask that they be allowed sole decision making power regarding certain issues
- Request sole legal and physical custody
No parent or child deserves to be stuck in a cycle of negative interactions that are damaging to all involved. A qualified attorney can help you navigate your struggles with your child’s parents and find a satisfactory, legal resolution. Contact us today for a consultation.