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How important is co-parenting for child custody?

Maryland parents generally take their children's well-being into account when making serious life decisions. Whether deciding to take a new job in a different state or considering divorce, like other parents, you just want what is best for your kids. What about when it comes to difficult issues, such as co-parenting after a divorce?

As divorced parents increasingly turn towards shared custody arrangements, many also struggle with the concept of co-parenting. You might be among those who are trying to find a positive parenting relationship with an ex-spouse. This is often easier said than done, though, and you might feel worried that a negative co-parenting relationship will negatively affect your children's well-being.

Is all co-parenting positive?

Luckily, you had a mostly cooperative divorce, and you and your ex ended things on relatively good terms. While that is great, you are probably still carrying around the emotional baggage associated with ending a marriage. This can make it difficult to pull off effective co-parenting. Lingering tensions that contributed to your divorce can sometimes creep up as you try to find common ground for parenting decisions.

A group of researchers recently examined the parent-child relationship involved in different co-parenting relationships. They categorized co-parenting relationships into three different categories based on levels of parental conflict and cooperation. These are:

  • Cooperative
  • Moderately Engaged
  • Conflictual and Disengaged

Researchers looked into the effects of these levels on the parent-child relationship.

Will kids survive conflict?

The researchers who created this designations expected that parents in cooperative co-parenting situations would have better parent-child relationships than those who were conflictual and disengaged. They specifically looked at parents' knowledge of their children's daily lives. Information markers included whether parents knew their children's daily schedules, who their friends were and whether they implemented consistent discipline.

The results surprised the researchers. Even parents who were conflictual and disengaged when it came to co-parenting still had good relationships with their children. Researchers concluded that even high-conflict co-parenting relationships are still beneficial to children.

Be there for your children

You do not have to take a step back from your children in order to shield them from conflict. Although you might feel as if you are protecting them, you could also end up depriving them and yourself of an emotionally valuable relationship. Barring extenuating circumstances, children generally fare better when they still have regular access to both of their parents after divorce.

If co-parenting is important to you, you may benefit from setting the best details for your child custody arrangement. This includes addressing things like how you will share both physical and legal custody, which can affect your ability to make decisions for your child. An attorney who is experienced in Maryland family law can more fully explain your options in regards to custody.

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