Child custody is one of the most important and most difficult issues that must be resolved between two parents who are not married or who divorce. Any legal disputes involving children can be extremely emotional, yet many Louisiana parents are able to set these difficult emotions aside in order to design a parenting plan that puts the need of the children first.
This kind of cooperative approach can provide a smooth transition to post-divorce life and help ensure continuity of lifestyle for the children. As with any type of custody agreement, you would be wise to ensure that a final order affords a full protection of your parental rights.
The benefits for children
An enforceable child custody agreement that allows for co-parenting can provide stability and many other benefits for the children, such as:
- Feelings of security through a difficult transition
- Consistency in lifestyle, even between two different households
- Ability to maintain strong relationships with both parents
Co-parents must put the emotional and physical needs of the children above their own disagreements or strong feelings about the other parent. This type of custody arrangement does not require that two former spouses like one another; it simply requires that each is willing to commit to working cooperatively through disagreements and any issues that arise after the divorce is final.
Drafting your co-parenting agreement
Your co-parenting plan will address important issues and various factors that will affect your children in the future. Through discussions and negotiations, and with the help of an experienced family law attorney, you and the other parent can come to agreements regarding:
- Custody and visitation
- Parenting time around abnormal work schedules
- Educational needs
- Religious upbringing
- Any special needs of your children
Co-parenting requires that both parties work as a team, but your final agreement should be fair, equitable and sustainable long into the future.
Any parenting plan should allow you to have regular access to your children and a strong role in their lives. If co-parenting is the right choice for your family’s situation, you would be wise to seek the help of an experienced family lawyer as you negotiate and work through specific custody-related issues.