There is no doubt that the life of a single parent can be difficult and fraught, but if both parents continue to take an active role in bringing up their children post-divorce, then it need not be. In California, a judge will not usually make a decision about custody and visitation until after the parents have met with a mediator from Family Court Services, but it is preferable for the parents themselves to come up with a parenting plan on which they both agree. In this manner, the best interest of the child may be served.
Recent research on divorce has shown that it is important for both parents to remain actively involved in relationships with their child. It appears to improve several aspects of a child’s development, including emotional, mental and physical. There are exceptions to this theory — for example, when violence or abuse has been present in the familial relationship. In such cases, it may be deemed far better for the child to have little or no contact with the non-residential parent.
Occasionally parents may decide to absent themselves from a child’s life as a form of punishment or revenge on the other parent, but this behavior only hurts the child in the middle. The acceptable, desired involvement of the non-residential parent need not be complicated. Simple measures, such as keeping one’s word or showing consistent interest in the child’s own views, may well be enough to reassure the child that the parent still cares about and has not forsaken them.
Custodial parents who consider using access to their child as a weapon might wish to evaluate the damage these actions could do, not only to their child but to themselves. There are times when sharing the responsibility of parenthood can take the pressure off and give one time to recharge his or her batteries, which in turn allows them to give the best of themselves to their child. A co-parenting agreement will broadly contain the same features, whether it is drawn up in California or any other state. This will be in the best interest of the child and can enable both parents to set limits where they feel them to be necessary.
Source: The Huffington Post, Absent Parents Get Involved, Sojourner Marable Grimmett, Jan. 6, 2014