The Positive-Selfish-Side of Effective Co-Parenting

Photo of Jeffrey A. Soilson

In contested custody cases where a child rejects contact with a parent, the rejected parent often accuses the aligned parent of engaging in alienating behaviors that are intended to sever the attachment between the child and the rejected parent.

But aligned parents are often motivated by a genuine desire to continue what had once been a joint decision with their co-parents to bring a child into the world or to adopt a child together; to raise a child together; to equally share the burdens of parenting; to provide a child with benefits from not only one parent who consistently strives to fulfill the child’s needs, but two parents, partnering in parenting; and to providing the financial, emotional and day-to-day support of two parents, so the weight and responsibility of child-rearing is not resting on the shoulders of only one parent. This could be called the “positive-selfish-side of effective co-parenting.” It stems from self-interest and self-preservation – both strong motivating factors – and factors that lend credibility to a separated or divorced parent who says, “I really do want my co-parent to have a relationship with our child.”

Of course, a child can thrive with only one parent. Single parents bring children into the world, continue to parent children after the loss of a second parent, or provide children who initially have no families with a nurturing environment in which to thrive. But there are many cases involving separation and divorce where an aligned parent pines for the shared parenting role that he or she might have once experienced prior to separation or divorce, which after separation or divorce may no longer be available due to numerous factors, none of which involve parental alienation, including unresolved issues between parents stemming from the breakdown of their relationships, increased distance between separate households, or increased work responsibilities as a result of the financial burdens associated with maintaining two households, among others.

Still, in many cases, effective co-parenting with a co-parenting partner simply makes life easier on an individual parent. Partnering in parenting can ease the financial strain of funding significant child-related expenses, it can alleviate the stress of crisis management if a child’s health or welfare is at stake, and it can bring to the table more than one perspective and set of life experiences when making major life decisions on behalf of a child.

The attorneys at Fitch Law Partners LLP represent co-parents in a broad range of issues, including contested litigation to enforce and modify court orders, helping them navigate through custody investigations and evaluations, and representing them in effectively utilizing the services of parenting coordinators.


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