Here in Louisiana, courts generally prefer to have divorcing parents share custody to the extent that it makes sense for the family as a whole. To this end, one parent very rarely receives full custody of children, meaning that it is usually necessary to work out an ongoing plan for protecting the children's best interests while accommodating the needs and preferences of the parents.
Of course, this is almost always a difficult process in practice. Even if both parents live relatively close to each other, their relational tensions may create needless difficulty for their children. This is especially true when one or both parents use their children as means to manipulate each other.
Fortunately, there are ways to preempt this behavior before a divorce even finalizes, using the strength of the law to create a safer, more uplifting environment for all members of a family. If you and your spouse face potentially difficult shared custody, it is wise to anticipate these issues and create provisions to address them in your parenting plan and custody agreement. An experienced attorney who understands the nuances of Louisiana family law can assess your needs and create strong legal protections that benefit both parents and children.
Avoid unacceptable parental behavior by addressing it clearly
Avoiding parental conflict while sharing custody is not always possible, but avoiding unacceptable parental behavior can be. The divorce process is often a strange blend of resolving financial issues like one might when dissolving a business and addressing very personal matters surrounding raising children.
It is no secret that divorcing parents are not always on their best behavior, and this is understandable. Experiencing a divorce is emotionally complex, and a parent may react in volatile ways that not only put unfair pressure on children, but cast themselves in an unfavorable light.
To address these issues head-on and hopefully avoid unnecessary conflicts in the years following the divorce, it is wise to consider adding language to your parenting agreement that specifically forbids certain behavior. This behavior may include:
- Repeatedly canceling or showing up late to custody swaps or visitation
- Attempting to control a child's communication with another parent
- Speaking negatively about the other parent in a child's presence
- Coercing a child to spy on another parent or deliver false information to another parent
Include predetermined remedies
If a parent does violate these guidelines, the agreement may also include provisions that outline consequences for the offending parent. Taking some extra time to dig in and address these issues during the divorce can create a smoother transition to co-parenting in the long run, and ultimately create a better environment for the children you love, even if you have a complicated relationship with the other parent.