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Getting past fear is key to co-parenting

95852794_S.jpgFor Missouri parents going through a divorce, the process can seem like a never-ending tug of war with children in the middle. Every parent wants what is best for their child and is usually willing to fight in court to realize that vision. When mediators, lawyers and judges bring up the idea of shared parenting, many people, especially those in high conflict divorces, simply refuse to listen. Although their motives in refusing to consider such an arrangement may be understandable, it might be a disservice to children not to consider shared parenting.

The trend in most jurisdictions is for an assumption that equally split parenting time is in the best interests of the children when deciding custodial arrangements. This is just a starting point, and adjustments are made depending on what the court determines is actually in the best interest of the children. Child safety is always paramount, so abusive, neglectful or historically absentee parents are unlikely to succeed if seeking joint custody of children. The best interest of the children is the guiding star for judges when custody is an issue.

Even though parents may be fearful of shared parenting arrangements,research shows it is almost always better for the children to have substantial time with each parent. Studies show it is a myth that children prefer to live with just one parent; kids almost universally believe that having close relationships with both parents is worth the effort and hassle of moving between residences. Even in situations with high conflict between parents, shared custody serves as a stabilizing factor and generally diminishes the impact upon kids from conflict between parents.

Divorce, especially when children are involved, is an emotionally charged process because the stakes are so high. Having an experienced and qualified family law attorney to provide insight and guidance throughout the process may be instrumental in reaching a reasonable conclusion for divorcing parents.

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