One of the most difficult parts of getting a divorce in California is determining child custody and making agreed-upon visitation arrangements. Ideally, the final child-custody framework clearly identifies each parent's rights and responsibilities and includes visitation rights, stipulated parenting times and other agreements about children's well-being.
Resolving such issues may sound easy, but even after the divorce settlement, parting spouses may still differ about what types of custody are suitable for given circumstances. They still have to make critical co-parenting or joint custody decisions, including child discipline, healthcare issues, social events and school activities.
Many divorced parents question their own motives when they have to make parenting decisions. Foe example, divorced parents should question whether their behavior is influenced by how they feel about their ex, or their child's best interest. Acting out of spite, anger or other vengeful feelings toward an ex-spouse does not help a child who is caught in the middle.
For this reason, parents should remember that reactive parenting often occurs when a parent makes a decision from resentment, anger or mistrust without thinking of the potential effects on the child. Proactive parenting, on the other hand, can lead to less stress because parents are basing their decisions and actions on what their children need.
Proactive parenting is thus useful in making decisions about children's holiday activities, for instance, encouraging both parents to focus on their child rather than on personal issues that still linger from divorce.
Regardless of the drawbacks to divorce in California, parents should focus on making co-parenting or joint custody work as smoothly as possible. This type of arrangement allows both parents to be there for their children as needed and as scheduled, arranged and planned in advance. Although co-parenting with a former spouse can be difficult, both parents should remember to make all parenting decisions in the best interests of their children.
Source: Huffington Post, "After Divorce: The Value of Proactive vs. Reactive Parenting," Rosalind Sedacca, Oct. 1, 2013