The need for parents to co-parent is not only important to a child’s well-being but can be grounds to challenge custody in California for a parent who refused to cooperate with the other parent in the raising of their child.
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Coparenting is a practice where two parents work together to raise a child even though they are divorced, separated or no longer living together. Through the coparenting process, the child’s parents seek to maintain equal or some type of shared responsibility to benefit the child’s upbringing.
The principle of coparenting states that a child has always and in any case the right to maintain a stable relationship with both parents, even if they are separated or divorced, unless there is a recognized need to separate him/her from one or both parents.
Such a right is based on the concept that to be a parent is a commitment that an adult takes with respect to his/her children, not to the other parent, so that it cannot and must not be influenced by any kind of separation among parents – to be a parent is both a right and a duty.
As a right, it cannot be constrained by the agreement of a third party, even if it would be the other parent; as a duty, it is not possible to abdicate it as well as it is not possible to abdicate any decreed right.
The principle of coparenting opposes the habit to grant custody of a child exclusively to a single parent, and promotes the shared parenting as a protection of the right of children to continue to receive cares and love from both parents.
California Family Law Courts
Family law judges expect parents to communicate. One of the foundational elements that a family law judge takes into consideration before making a decision regarding child custody is whether one parent is frustrating or preventing communication or refusing to engage in coparenting. The reason is because, in California, the laws favor both coparenting and communication between the parents and expressly provides that a parent who is unwilling to engage in both may not be fit to have joint or primary custody. If coparenting is not just possible, there are alternatives. Parallel parenting in high conflict child custody cases can be very effective and consistent with the children’s best interest. Remember, uncooperative parenting and interference with the other parent’s rights may not only lead to a change in custody but a contempt action against the interfering parent.
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