Several months ago, this blog discussed the value of good co-parenting. All too often, the media plagues its consumers with disheartening narratives like the vindictive ex-wife or the deadbeat dad. Unquestionably, Family Law is a field bursting with deep-seated emotions. The most important thing for any parent is their child. Parents want to make sure their kids are safe and secure, both financially and physically. Parents want to ensure their children grow up healthy, happy, and successful. They want a better life for their children. In fact, what is often lost in the media’s tropes are the impact such narratives have on children. These tropes can arise from toxic co-parenting. A consistent and constant problem in a number of cases before New Hampshire’s Family Courts arises from parents’ inability to effectively cooperate with one another, where their old romantic issues bleed into the raising of their children.

While lawyers should never pretend to be trained psychologists or family therapists, clients rely on us to tell them what the “right” thing to do is. However, what is “right” can take on several different meanings, which is often dependent on the client’s perspective. There are a few areas a client must consider: their legal rights and the practical outcome from the exercise of those rights. At Parnell, Michels & McKay, our attorneys always counsel our clients to try and work out their issues with their exes before filing in Court. In particular, while counseling on the legal implications and choices in front of a client, we turn that client’s focus to the importance of co-parenting. However, what is “good” co-parenting?

Several years ago, Psychology Today wrote an article that contained a “Do and Don’t” styled checklist to establish good co-parenting. While the “Do” items on that checklist are certainly useful, the most important information comes from the “Don’t” section. Specifically, the last item titled, “Don’t Accuse. Discuss”. Many co-parenting relationships break down because the other partner is focused on what they want for their child without first addressing the other parent’s position. Often, the parenting devolves into what one parent wants to see from the other parent in the name of “the good of their child”. A good co-parenting tree starts from the seed of effective communication. While you may have a problem with the other parent’s style of parenting, how that issue is addressed often makes the difference between well-functioning co-parents and toxic co-parenting. Certainly, there may be times where the parties cannot agree and they have a reasonable basis for it. However, even if the matter ends up in Court, both parents have to be willing to listen to the other parent going forward on their disagreement, because that decision alone sets a good example for their children.

Before you consider filing a motion against your ex-partner, it would be wise to consult with an attorney who can provide you with both the legal and practical advice. The family law attorneys at Parnell, Michels & McKay are well-versed in providing such a two-pronged approach when dealing with family matters. We seek to advise people through the emotional mountains and valleys that come with a family law dispute.

If you are interested in learning more about parenting plans, divorce, child support, or any other legal worries, please contact us to learn more. We can help you get you back to parenting in normalcy.