Cooperative co-parenting is often best for children’s well-being

It is often difficult for divorcing couples to reach a decision on child custody. However, parents should keep children’s best interests in mind.

The process of divorce is rarely easy for anyone. This is particularly true when parents are having difficulty agreeing on child custody. It is not uncommon for either parent to want sole custody of the children, believing it is in the children's best interests to primarily reside in one home. On the other hand, sometimes one parent will pursue custody in an effort to "get back" at the other parent. This type of behavior can be harmful to the emotional well-being of children. Determining parenting arrangements may be a difficult and heart-wrenching process for divorcing couples in Connecticut, but it is important that children's best interests are kept in mind over any hard feelings that the adults may feel toward each other.

Co-parenting effectively

It can be challenging for divorced parents to cooperate in raising their children in dual households, but it is not impossible when both are willing to work with each other, states Parents magazine. The following are some tips that single parents can implement, which may lessen the emotional impact the end of a marriage has on children:

  • Avoid speaking badly about the other parent in front of the children. Children often internalize this behavior. It also makes them feel like they have to take sides. Instead, children should be encouraged to love and spend time with both parents.
  • Look at approaching child custody as a business arrangement, in which the children's needs are more important than the adults' feelings about the situation.
  • Take into consideration each child's age, needs, activities and interests when determining a custody arrangement. Be willing to update the arrangement periodically to accommodate changing schedules and needs.
  • Work with the other parent to communicate respectfully for the benefit of the children, rather than tearing each other down or attempting to make parenting time difficult.

It is also crucial to reassure children that both parents love them and to make them feel that their opinions and feelings are important.

Children sent to juvenile hall after refusing to see father

In a recent story, three children were taken away from their mother's custody by a Michigan judge after the children told the judge they did not want to speak to their father or have lunch with him in a family court cafeteria. According to NBC News, the judge sent them to juvenile hall, but then changed the order to send them to summer camp. The parents had been battling for custody since 2009. One of the children said they did not want to have contact with their father because he had been violent with their mother.

This story may illustrate how it is important that the children's wishes or accounts should be listened to. There may be a valid reason why a child does not want to see one parent. Parents who are concerned about a child's physical or emotional safety while in the custody of the other parent may watch for various warning signs, states the Mayo Clinic. These may include signs of depression or anxiety, changes in behavior, reports of no supervision at the other parent's home, excessive absences from school or suspicious injuries.

Child custody is a highly emotional topic and is often one of the most contentious points of a divorce. Parents in Fairfield County who are concerned about child custody may find help by contacting an experienced family law attorney. Attorney Robert Skovgaard has thirty-eight years of experience representing parents and children in custody matters. Contact him today to discuss your particular situation.

Keywords: family law, divorce, custody, child