Contentious child custody disputes may be less frequent as Pennsylvania family law judges tend to lean toward co-parenting solutions whenever possible. This is because these decisions are made with the child’s best interests in mind, and research shows that children are happier and less likely to develop crippling emotional problems when they receive care and supervision from both of their parents.
Protecting their children from the psychological consequences of divorce is also the major priority of most parents, and even the most antagonistic of couples are often able to get past their anger and mistrust when the future of their children is at stake. Co-parenting works when children know where they stand and are not able to play one of their parents off against the other, but all of this hard work can be undone when parents drag their children into domestic disputes or disagreements.
Establishing clearly written parenting rules is an effective way for parents to avoid this pitfall, but these guidelines should not be too strict or restrictive. Parents who feel like their hands are tied may search for loopholes to exploit, and this can encourage children to be deceptive and manipulating. However, parents who cooperate with one another set a positive example and teach their children valuable lessons about the benefits of acting responsibly and honoring commitments.
Experienced divorce attorneys often seek to get child custody talks off to a positive start by establishing common ground and identifying shared goals, and they may also remind their clients that court disputes are public, unpredictable and often expensive. Dealing with visitation and custody early on in divorce negotiations also avoids children being used as bargaining chips when more contentious matters such as property division or alimony are discussed.