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Law Offices of Hannah E. Sims, LL.M.
Oakland Certified Family Law Specialist

The approach to co-parenting after divorce is changing

California parents may have more options for child custody arrangements than they did in the past. Traditionally, mothers were often awarded primary custody, and fathers spent alternate weekends and perhaps a week night with their children. However, with research showing that children benefit from more time with their fathers after a divorce even if it causes some disruption in their schedule, parents are making more of an effort to share parenting duties.

This can lead to some creative approaches to co-parenting. For example, some parents have tried taking turns sharing a home where the children live full time. One couple bought a home with two master suites, and the mother kept hers locked when she was not there. Another couple tried this arrangement, but they found that conflict over issues such as the condition the house was left in made it unworkable for them. They changed to a schedule in which they alternated weekends with the child and had him on different days during the week.

One couple went on living together in separate bedrooms after their breakup, eating meals together and sharing the common areas. However, this requires a high level of cooperation. Couples might be more likely to opt for the situation one couple did in which they alternated full weeks with their child.

Child custody can be difficult to negotiate even when the divorce is relatively amicable. It can be emotional for parents to deal with the fact that their time with their children will be reduced, but it is important that they do not let any animosity toward each other interfere with this process. Unless the child's well-being is in danger because of issues such as neglect or abuse, regular contact with both parents is generally beneficial.

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