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Difficulties that may arise in coparenting

Some California parents may struggle with co-parenting after a divorce. They may feel they are failing their children if they are unable to co-parent successfully, but there are circumstances that can make it difficult or impossible to do so.

After a divorce, the same tendencies that made parents unable to cooperate in marriage could mean they cannot do so in a divorce either. In other cases, one parent may be too controlling or may try to turn the child against the other parent. A parent could be mentally or emotionally abusive toward the other or still too angry about the divorce to cooperate as a co-parent. There are other situations that can make a child unsafe with the other parent. This includes cases in which the parent is violent or neglectful. In some cases, there may even be a restraining order. Practical considerations, such as one parent's incarceration, may make it impossible in other situations. Some parents move frequently and simply have lives that are too unstable to parent responsibly.

In contrast, successful co-parenting requires consistency in scheduling and household rules. Communication, being amicable in public and setting good boundaries are all important. However, if it is not possible to co-parent, parents can still be good models for their children. Their children can still thrive with one parent who sets an example for them.

Parents facing difficult co-parenting situations may also be less likely to be able to reach an agreement on child custody and visitation. If there is a custody dispute, while a judge will not look favorably on an uncooperative parent, there is usually still an assumption that it is in the best interests of the child to have some time with each parent. However, if one parent is abusive or endangers the child in some other way, that parent might not be allowed any visitation time.

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