Right now, 24 million American Children are living with little to no access to their biological father’s. As shocking and disturbing as that may sound, it does not mean that a co-parental relationship cannot be a successful one for children and parents.
We at The Fathers’ Rights Movement advocate for 50/50 parenting time and joint-custody whenever possible. So long as there is no abuse, neglect, or abandonment, no child should be subjected to any less than equal time with each side of their families. Studies have proven that this is in the best interest of children, and the legal precedent is not lacking when it comes to a parents fundamental right to raise their children free from government interference (In re EAW, 658 So. 2d at 983 (Anstead, J., dissenting) (citations omitted); see also Foster v. Sharpe, 114 So. 2d 373, 376 (Fla. 3d DCA 1959) (determining that the right to raise one’s child is one of the most fundamental rights held by a parent and thus it must be protected).
Case law and third-party interference aside, there are certain things you as a co-parent can do to make the transition easy for your children and even beneficial:
- Respect and Encourage Your Child’s Relationship with the Other Parent
This is one of the most difficult things for a parent to do. Letting go after a separation is utterly painful and there are plenty of emotions clouding the judgment of each party. Taking time to ease into a separation should be considered. Don’t just up-and-leave the other parent, sit down with them and see a priest if you are religious, talk to family members, see counselors together, talk about your feelings, anything you can do to lighten the load of the process will be beneficial immediately and in the long-run.
- Be Cordial and Polite in All Communication
Of course, many people have a large problem with this, which ends up affecting them in court, and in turn, hurts the child. Your number one goal should be to stay out of court. If the court requires a parenting plan or an order, do that and leave it alone. The worst thing you can do for your family is to threaten litigation and use the court as a battering-ram. It only hurts the children. Be fake nice if you have to.
- Leave the New Partners Out of it
In time, both parents will move on and find new romances. It is important that you are clear with your significant other about their role in the situation. They should know that they are not replacing the other parent and they are there to aid the other parents in the care and upbringing of the children. The parent/child relationship is the most special and cherished relationship one can have. It is disrespectful and bad for the children if you attempt to “replace” a parent with a new flame.
- Do NOT Talk Negatively About the Other Parent to the Child
This is extremely important for the child’s well-being. The child loves and needs both parents; regardless of the past, you have to put all of your animosity away and think about what is best for the child. There will be the occasional disagreement between co-parents, this is to be expected, but to react appropriately and as an adult, will help your child adjust to the separation.
- Be a Good Parent
This one is the most obvious but is the least celebrated. With all of the conflict that surrounds divorce and separation, people forget about parenting and concentrate on litigating and finances (the lawyers love this!). The court process, on its own, is by far the most detrimental experience in a child’s life. The process of child custody and divorce proceedings is, on its face, adversarial. No one argues this point. But the long-term effects on both the parents and the children are overlooked quite purposefully. Do you really think a $50 billion-dollar industry wants the harm they are causing exposed? I highly doubt any of you are that gullible.
By: Ben Kain
 LAGGING BEHIND THE TIMES: PARENTHOOD, CUSTODY, AND GENDER BIAS IN THE FAMILY COURT[*]
CYNTHIA A. MCNEELY[**] Copyright © 1998 Cynthia A. McNeely. . Date of access: 2/17/15. http://www.law.fsu.edu/journals/lawreview/frames/254/mcnefram.html