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Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

A divorce can tease out the worst sides of both you and your ex spouse, creating a vacuum of pain and resentment in the void between. Cooperating with an ex on a weekly basis may be the last thing you want to do, but a positive co-parenting relationship between the two of you is essential to the emotional and mental health of your child, especially in situations of equal joint physical custody, when balanced co-parenting is most possible. According to research done by the University of New Hampshire, successful co-parenting can help children develop feelings of stability, make them feel less torn between parents, and are less likely to feel abandoned. One immediate concept both you and your ex need to embrace is that like it or not, you’re in this together. For your child’s sake, you must put all of your emotions behind you, and develop an amicable, if shallow, relationship with your ex. You have to see them, you have to speak to them; accept this. It will get easier with time. Develop a good channel of communication. As in you and your ex spouse. According to Psychology Today, Research indicates that burdening your child with your adult issues promotes feelings of helplessness and insecurity, which can cause children to question their own strengths and abilities. Do not make your child your messenger or your primary source of information about your exes life, especially if your tone is negative. Have that conversation with your ex yourself, and leave your child out of the conflict. Good communication only occurs if you both stay focused on your joint goals...

Termination of Parental Rights: What is it, and can it be reversed?

Termination of parental rights is a court order that permanently ends the legal parent-child relationship when the parent is found to be unfit. Termination of parental rights is not granted by the courts for parents who mutually agree to terminate their rights to resolve visitation or support issues. When a parents rights are terminated, they can no longer make decisions for the child. When determining if a parents rights should be terminated, most states require the court to show with clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit, and that severing the parent-child relationship is in the child’s best interests. To qualify for termination of parental rights, it has to be determined that the child cannot safely return home because  of risk of harm by the parent. Though each state determines their own statutory grounds, there are a few common scenarios that may determine parental unfitness, including: Failure to support and maintain contact with the child Severe and ongoing abuse or neglect Physical or sexual abuse of the child Abuse or neglect of other children in the household Child abandonment Long-term mental illness of the parents Long-term substance abuse by the parent Involuntary termination of rights of the parent to another child Other various circumstances In California, parental rights can also be terminated if the whereabouts of the parent have been unknown for 6 months, the parent has not visited or attempted to contact the child is 6 months, the parent has been convicted of a felony indicating parental unfitness, or the court has continued to remove the child from the custody of the parent or guardian and...
Creating a Child-Focused Parenting Plan

Creating a Child-Focused Parenting Plan

A custody and visitation agreement – often called a parenting plan – is a key part of any child custody arrangement. It is a set of stipulations agreed upon by both parents that determine how child custody will be arranged, how visitation will be scheduled, and how decisions about the health, education, and general well-being of the children should be made. These agreements are made between parents, often with attorney or mediator assistance, and when they are fully accepted by both parties, they are signed and sent to the judge to be filed as a court order. It is imperative that your children be your first and only priority when making a parenting plan. During the stressful and emotional times of a divorce, it is tempting to base your decisions around your ex, trying to make them upset or take things away from them, but this kind of thinking is detrimental and dangerous to your children’s well-being. Whatever emotional distress you may be feeling during your divorce, your kids are feeling more, and watching their parents bicker only makes things worse for them. You have to put them first, even if that means making nice with possibly your least favorite person in the world right now. Make “my kids come first” your mantra. When making decisions about your parenting plan, your kids are everything. You should make certain that your plan takes into account your children’s basic needs, such as that they are eating or sleeping well, that they have adequate medical care and coverage, that their education is taken care of, and that they have happy, loving homes...