Can you support your former spouse as you co-parent following the completion of your divorce? You may be surprised to learn there is no presumption in North County family law courts that “shared” or “equal” parenting time and child custody are preferred. Our judges are looking out for the best interests of each child and child custody and parenting time are usually awarded based upon that principle.
Are you looking for joint or shared custody and parenting time? Are you hoping to request sole custody or a majority of the parenting time? If either is the case it is important to note our laws also require a judge to consider “which parent is more likely to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent.” Your ability to support your former spouse as you co-parent after the divorce will impact the goals you have established.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you approach this challenge – especially if you are experiencing challenges with your former spouse:
1. Keep your mind focused on your children if child custody is a primary motivation. It’s all about their best interests. Children are dealing with the divorce of their parents with only a few to several years of overall life experience. They aren’t adults, and their ability to cope with what is going on and the internal issues they are attempting to put a happy face on are quite significant.
Regardless of what you feel about your former spouse, it is natural for a child to want to continue to see and have quality time with both parents. This is also a goal of California law.
2. If you wish to demonstrate to the court that you can support your former spouse as you co-parent you must eliminate all public (and what you perceive to be private) comments about them. Swear off of social media. If you are angry with your former spouse put your phone down and turn your computer monitor off until you are more calm. Ensure communications between the two of you are focused on issues, and do not allow yourself to be drawn into bitter conversations.
3. Electronic messages such as texts, emails and social media posts have a way of showing up in court. Make sure your communications reflect positively on you and your ability to be supportive of your children’s relationship with the other parent.
4. Be careful what you say, especially around your children.
5. Another sound strategy is to provide open communications to the other party. A pre-paid cell phone and the ability to message or send emails allows the child to communicate openly with the other parent. Ensure you are communicating with your former spouse regarding all activities in the child’s life including extra-curricular activities, parent teacher conferences, recitals, and other important events in your child’s life.
Demonstrating your ability and willingness to co-parent effectively will go a long way to help you accomplish your child custody and parenting time goals. Is child custody important to you? If you find these ideas a bit challenging but understand the importance associated with your ability to co-parent we invite you to review the recommendations of our clients and seek out the advice and support of our proven Certified Family Law Specialists by contacting Burke & Domercq or calling 760-434-3330 to learn more and schedule an appointment.