Co-parenting implies some sense of cooperation between the parents for the mutual care of the children. The mutual care does not need to be equal to qualify as co-parenting, but any degree of cooperation with regard to decision making and sharing of parenting time. However, there are some situations that severely undermine co-parenting and other situations that make co-parenting impossible.
Situations leading to tremendous difficulty can include but are not limited to: severe mental illness; ongoing risk of domestic violence; incarceration.
Situations that make co-parenting impossible include but are not limited to: death of a parent; a parent’s refusal to participate; current and ongoing dangerous domestic violence.
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Typically, the outcome for children of separated parents is better when both parents are involved in their lives, and their involvement is peacefully attained. Parental involvement and peaceful behaviour thus create the better outcomes for kids.
The challenge in many of these circumstances mentioned above is creating the conditions for peaceful parental involvement. In such situations, tremendous creativity and flexibility is necessary to create the conditions as best as possible. Happy solutions are rarely achieved through litigation. Often, one parent ends up feeling like the “loser,” and when a parent is unsatisfied with the outcome, he or she is less likely to follow through and make the outcome work well. The better outcomes are achieved through consensus building where both parents accept a mutually developed plan.
Lastly, co-parenting can actually be affected by the lawyer that the parent chooses to represent them. Some lawyers, in their desire to get their client as much as possible, increase the level of conflict, making a mutually agreeable settlement impossible.
Given the above, if you are in any of these situations and you are seeking a lawyer, consider finding one whose disposition is towards creating safe and livable outcome that both sides may accept. If your life or that of your child is truly at risk, then court intervention is likely necessary to facilitate greater safety.