Divorcing parents are concerned about child custody and visitation. They worry about how their relationship with their child or children will be affected. The couple may fight with each other about what they each think is in the best interest of the child.
Courts encourage the parents to work together in co-parenting their children and to come up with a parenting plan that will work for them all. But what is co-parenting and how does it work?
The Office of the Attorney General for the State of Texas has published a CoParenting Guide. The Guide notes that “’Co-parenting’ (sometimes called “shared parenting”) is when both parents work together as a team to raise their children, even after the marriage or romantic relationship is over. This is not a skill that most people are taught, so you may have to do some learning along the way to find out the best way to co-parent in your family.”
Ideally, spouses have been co-parenting prior to the divorce. It becomes complicated after the breakup of the marriage because now there are two households, and each parent may have a different approach to parenting.
It is often difficult for the parents to work out their differences in order to effectively raise their children together. At our law firm, we help our clients develop a parenting plan that will work for the parents and be in the best interest of the children.
What is a Parenting Plan?
Simply defined, a parenting plan “describes how the kids will spend time with each parent.” There are different terms used in Texas that refer to how that time is spent, and those titles are included in the parenting plan. For example:
• Joint managing conservatorship: The parents jointly make decisions concerning the children. It does not necessarily mean they share jointly in the possession of the children.
• Sole managing conservatorship: One parent has the exclusive right to make most decisions concerning the children.
• Possession schedule: Establishes dates and times the children will be with each parent. This will include regular weekend and weekday visits, summer vacation schedules, how holidays will be handled, extracurricular event schedules, and more.
The purpose is for the parents to be able to put aside their personal differences and be able to show a united front to their children.