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Shared parenting: Can you and the other parent agree?

When negotiating your parenting plan with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you might consider shared parenting. It's a great way to ensure that your child spends as much time as possible with both parents, and it also helps both parents share the time and responsibilities required to raise a child.

Still, it's important to keep your eyes on what's practically best for yourself, your spouse and your children. Most importantly, can you and the other parent agree on common decisions? If you can't, shared parenting might not be a good idea. In fact, a court may even deny a claim for shared parenting based on the argument that the parents can't get along.

Here are a few issues parents will need to agree on while raising their child together:

  • Financial responsibilities
  • Educational decisions
  • Medical care
  • Parenting time
  • Religious questions
  • Social and extracurricular activities

Parents who are concerned that they won't be able to get along with one another may want to incorporate a plan for peaceful dispute resolution in their parenting plan. Perhaps this plan will include a mutually trusted friend or family member who the parents will rely on to make a final decision on areas of disagreement. As a last resort, the parenting plan might indicate to resolve areas of continued friction through mediation.

The benefits of shared parenting for your child are innumerable. If you want to push for this kind of plan in court; however, it's important to get the other parent -- and the judge -- on board with your ideas, and this could require a delicate a mix of legal acumen and diplomacy.

Source: FindLaw, "Shared Parenting vs. Sole Custody," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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