New Jersey Divorce Law Firm: When Coparenting Is a Better Choice

“We stayed married for the children.”  This reason for maintaining a marriage has been debunked by many research studies showing the negative consequences for children who are raised by parents in unhappy marriages.  If you are putting your children’s welfare first, then it may be that a divorce is better for them in the long run.

In addition to deciding whether to divorce, you have another decision to make: can you and your spouse successfully coparent your joint children or will the reasons for your divorce continue to insert conflict into the relationship?  It’s no good thinking that a divorce will be better for your children if you and your ex are not able to build a healthy relationship as coparents.  In such cases, it may be a better idea to construct a more traditional custody arrangement where the noncustodial parent has visitation time but you do not attempt to actually coparent.

What does coparenting mean?  Every family is unique, but coparenting always means that the child’s two parents continue to share the responsibilities of raising their child.  They make major decisions together, agree and cooperate on issues like discipline, education and health care together, and try to make the child’s transition from one parent’s house to the other as seamless as possible.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are trying to determine whether coparenting is right for your divorcing family:

  • How old are your children?  Older children who are used to a certain type of family life may have more to lose if their parents are not able to coparent effectively.  Younger children may be more adaptable to a single-parent household.
  • Do disagreements over parenting have anything to do with the reasons for your divorce?  If so, coparenting will prove difficult, since you will have to continue to find a happy medium between your different ideas about parenting best practices.  However, it may be that you will find it easier to compromise once you are no longer living in the same house and engaging in the other conflicts that caused your marriage to end.
  • Have there been any incidences of domestic violence?  Coparenting is usually not appropriate in such cases, and the New Jersey family courts will usually support more stringent custody award.
  • Can you agree to continue to live in the same geographic area while the children are living at home?  Coparenting doesn’t work if the parents don’t live near one another.  Some divorcing couples include promises to remain living in the same geographic area in their divorce settlements.

Decisions about children are one of the most sensitive parts of a divorce.  Think through your options carefully and seek advice from family and friends who know you, your spouse, and your children well.  A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can help you understand your legal options and how best to craft a divorce settlement that meets your children’s needs.

Questions About Coparenting and Child Custody?  Contact the New Jersey Law Office of Lyons & Associates

At Lyons & Associates, we bring a high level of personalized service and attention to each of our clients, in every family law case we handle. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.