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Jan 12 2018

Post Dissolution: Co-Parenting after Trial

Introduction

Co-parenting after a divorce takes a lot of work can become excruciating. Even if issues of custody and parenting time were not disputed in the trial, the fact that there were  any unresolved issues between you and the other parent that were submitted to a judge could leave you with no platform to respect or compromise with each other moving forward.

When we represent a client who goes through a trial or the client comes to us after having been through a trial, we oftentimes have to review the terms of their divorce decree with the question: what additional co-parenting terms are missing from this decree? We have to ask this for several reasons. Unless your judge is a former family court practitioner, many of the most advantageous clauses of a divorce decree that are products of negotiation and stipulation are not included in judicially issued decrees. Further, because the co-parenting relationship is fractured following a trial, there’s a good likelihood that we need to put more elaborate and direct provisions into the decree than normally contemplated with parties who can reach a resolution without a trial.

What to Ask

There are many questions that help shine a light into the dark shadows of those parts of the decree that are missing. Though it will likely be difficult and painful to work with the other parent to get them to agree to amend the decree and additional co-parenting terms, it is essential.

The following are examples of questions that should be answered to avoid future discord and move towards better co-parenting terms.

Exchanges:

  •  How do parent time exchanges occur? Who drives?
  • If you’re meeting in the middle, how’s that chosen?

Medical Appointments:

  •  Who schedules medical appointments?
  • Does the other party need to be consulted in the choice of date and time? How much notice is required?

Medical Emergencies:

  • How do medical emergencies work?
  • What happens if emergency arises and the other parent is not at the ER in time to weigh in on an immediate decision that needs to be made?

Parenting Standards and Style:

  • What about the fine line between parenting style and parenting standards?
  • How is discipline decided when it needs to be enforced between two homes?
  • Are there going to be common rules between both homes, and which rules can acceptably vary between the two homes?

Monetary Issues:

  • The decree calls for division of out-of-pocket uninsured medical expenses but does not specify how reimbursements are made. What is the best practice for that?
  • What about changes in insurance?

The New Significant Other:

  • What about news that your children are going to be meeting the new significant other of the other party?
  • Should you get such notice?
  • Should you have the chance to meet the person before the children do? Are you entitled to her full name?
  • Are you entitled to know his date of birth so you can determine his background?
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