When Missouri parents divorce, they often find themselves at odds over issues relating to child custody. Parenting time, access and visitation are some of the most emotionally charged issues in a divorce, and it is often difficult to come to terms with the final order. Hard feelings and conflict can continue well after the process is final. 

Custody is not an easy issue to navigate, but that does not mean it has to remain a source of significant stress in your life. In fact, it is possible for parents to get along for the sake of the children and co-parent peacefully, even if they do not necessarily like each other. It often takes dedication, maturity and a resolve to protect the needs of the children, but it is possible.

Things for co-parents to remember 

If you and the other parent are working on a co-parenting custody agreement or you are already divorced and co-parenting, it is helpful to remember that this process does not magically get easier overnight. Over time, however, it can get better, and your kids can have a strong relationship with both biological parents. Committing to the following can help make your co-parenting relationship easier and more peaceful:

  • Resolve to be flexible and understand that things cannot always go your way.
  • Be supportive and kind, to both your children and your co-parent.
  • Keep your focus on being a strong and stable parent for your children.
  • Be open and supportive of step-parent efforts to be involved with your kids and make their lives better.

It’s not simple to co-parent, especially when one or both parents move on and step-parents enter the picture. It may take effort and time, but by keeping your focus on the best interests of the kids above all else, you can make your co-parenting arrangement much more productive.

Your parental rights

It is important to agree to a co-parenting agreement that shields your children from undue emotional harm and unnecessary upheaval. However, you also have the right to pursue terms that protect your parental rights. It can be hard to find a good balance between these things, which is why it may be helpful to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney. 

Before you agree to a parenting plan or custody agreement, you may want to take steps to fully understand your rights and options. Being prepared can help you secure a parenting arrangement that will benefit and protect your family for years to come.