Even if you and your ex ended your relationship on good terms, things can take an ugly turn when it comes to deciding how to divide up your parenting responsibilities. Many divorcing or separating couples in New Jersey opt for a joint custody arrangement which allows both parents to share legal and physical custody of their children.
Under a joint custody arrangement, the child will likely stay with each parent for a certain number of days each year and both parents will be legally able to participate in making decisions relating to the child’s upbringing.
However, a joint custody arrangement is not always possible. For example, if one parent is struggling financially or has issues with drug/alcohol abuse, they may not be fit to care for the child. The child’s other parent, assuming that they are capable of caring for the child, will likely be awarded sole custody.
What are some common co-parenting challenges?
If you are sharing custody with your ex in any capacity, you may run into some challenges, even after your parenting agreement has been approved by the court. Some of these challenges include:
- Differing opinions on how to discipline the child.
- Differences in parenting styles.
- Financial differences (e.g., one spouse is able or willing to spend more money on the child than the other).
- Inability to communicate with each other (e.g., one parent fails to tell the other about an upcoming medical appointment).
- Allowing personal feelings about each other to negatively impact coparenting relationship.
The above challenges can lead to inconsistency between the parents’ households and cause unnecessary rifts in the family. A family law attorney can help navigate these challenges and make sure that both parents are always focused on the needs of the child. Parents who are patient with each other, able to talk things through, and willing to compromise are very likely to become successful coparents.