Divorcing parents in California often deal with a wide range of emotions and lingering feelings. In some situations, it may seem impossible for soon-to-be-exes to reach a point where animosity can be put aside for the sake of children. One way to accomplish this goal is for parents going through a divorce to create a co-parenting agreement. The term “co-parenting” refers to forming a mutually agreeable plan to keep both parents involved in their child’s life and present an example of effective problem solving for children.

A parenting plan can involve making some child custody decisions without turning to the court. For instance, some parents may be able to agree on issues such as when each individual will spend time with the child, how pick-ups and drop-offs and holidays will be handled, and how each party will communicate with one another. The potential for conflicts may be minimized if parents allow for some degree of flexibility with emergencies and other unexpected situations.

Unless there are issues that may affect a child’s safety, co-parenting is typically considered to be beneficial for children following a divorce. This means encouraging parents not to disparage or demean one another in front of their children or use a child to transfer messages. New co-parents may also find it helpful to turn to trusted friends and family members to discuss feelings so that frustrations aren’t vented directly to children. In some instances, family therapy with a neutral party may make it easier to develop a healthy co-parenting relationship and deal with unresolved issues.

One of the many roles of an attorney during the divorce process is to help clients avoid conflicts with co-parenting agreements whenever possible. Should there be new or lingering issues that can’t be resolved amicably, a lawyer may seek a reasonable child custody modification or appropriate adjustments to visitation schedules. Separate issues with child support may also be addressed if there are issues involving failure to make timely or complete payments that need to be resolved.