Joint parenting is common nowadays. When couples decide to separate, they still want to parent their children.
For this reason, some state laws prefer this kind of parenting.
But there are also other state laws that prefer sole custody with the mom or dad and the other will just have visitation privileges.
At the time of a divorce or separation, all states always encourage the parents to agree on parenting plans or strategies.
If they cannot agree on building a parenting plan, then the state provides or refers the parents for mediation services or other alternate dispute resolution strategies.
The mother for instance, can be the primary parent and the other will just be visited by the child.
Another form is a child will have certain schedules on where she stays on a particular day or week. In this case, the parents can have shared parenting.
But these forms are only applicable if both parents live at the same place.
In order for this agreement to work, both parents should agree to support the child's relationship to the other parent.
This is done by allowing the child to have frequent private conversations such as telephone calls, mail or e-mail.
The parenting agreement should also include the specific time the child will spend on weekdays and weekends, vacation time and holidays.
For instance, the child will stay with each parent on alternate weekends; there are split Christmas and Thanksgiving between the parents; and vacation time will be divided.
Joint parenting plans should include how these decisions are made.
The child's education is very important and the parents should agree what school the child will attend.
Will it be a private, public, parochial, or home school? They should decide together about dental, medical or psychological care.
Should the child take some medicine, be given vaccines, have braces, or consult a therapist?
Who will make decisions in case of medical emergencies? What religion should be practiced?
What must they do to resolve their conflicts about time for shared parenting and making of major decisions for the child?
Joint parenting plans usually address this issue. In most cases, parents agree to have counseling, mediation, or other kinds of services to resolve their conflict or disputes.
For instance, both parents might agree not to change their parenting style for 3 years. This can guarantee certain stability for the child.
It will also allow the parents to find out whether the parenting plan is effective or not.
Since there are chances that parents will not live close to each other, they also need to
consider how they will modify their joint parenting plans.
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