Getting through a divorce is hard. Depending on the relationship that’s coming to an end, there can be any number of challenges and disagreements. Through all the division of property, new homes and disputes about the car or family pet, many couples think that child custody will be an easier arrangement to reach.
Just like parenthood, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. While the state of Colorado honors a “best interests of the child” standard, this varies wildly between families. After determining primary and physical custody, the schedule can be equally difficult to set.
An answer for every situation
A clear parenting plan is important in any child custody dispute. It’s not just a calendar for holidays and school breaks, it’s a guide for any possible situation. A proper parenting plan is a “how to” for when new circumstances arise to make sure that parents don’t to go back to the drawing board whenever something comes up. A plan needs to be in place for dealing with any issue that might arise, such as medical or emergency care, education decisions and extra-curriculars.
There are also challenges as children grow through adolescence, which are difficult to address on paper. Both children and parents have trouble acclimating to new arrangements when it comes having two homes, unexpected life events and cooperating as co-parents. Through any move, job change, or simply as a child matures, there will be unpredictable responses to every situation. While nobody knows the future, the parenting plan calls for a unified response.
The court’s decision will factor behavior and suitability as a parent, based on your record: employment, criminal history, substance abuse and your bond with your children come under close scrutiny. In a contested divorce, this decision lies in the hands of the judge, increasing the pressure and uncertainty. Hearings will emphasize shortcomings, creating a hostile and emotional environment. Often, that hostility bleeds outside the courtroom, damaging parent-child relationships in the process.
While divorce means a fresh start for each adult, parenting is to continue with as little interruption as possible. This means that ex-spouses will need to rebound after the settlement and work together again. Not in daily life as a couple, but together as parents who lives in separate houses, on separate schedules, and with separate goals other than your united role as parents.