It’s not uncommon for people think of child custody as a “you versus me” area of family law. After all, it’s often described as a battle with a winner and loser. However, it certainly does not have to be this way, thanks in large part to the many options parents have when it comes to raising a child separately but together.
In fact, there are several options for parents across Florida when it comes to custody arrangements.
While there are certainly situations where one parent is awarded sole custody or where children primarily live with one parent and see the other parent rarely, many people will be in a co-parenting situation. This is where both parents have a role in raising the child, and kids have frequent and ongoing contact with each parent.
When it comes to co-parenting, there is no one way to do it: Each situation is different and can benefit from different arrangements.
For instance, if you and the other parent can’t stand each other and fight at every chance you get, you might consider an option like parallel parenting. This arrangement emphasizes structure, limits interactions between parents and prioritizes autonomy when it comes to daily parenting decisions.
The opposite of parallel parenting could be something called “bird nesting.” In this arrangement, kids stay in one place and the parents move in and out of that home (or continue living together) to preserve the children’s sense of stability. Bird nesting might only work for parents who get along very well, have the means and capability to move around a lot and have very effective communication skills with each other.
In most cases, however, you will find yourself somewhere between these two parenting styles.
This is a good thing to keep in mind as you navigate the child custody process. You have the freedom to find a solution that works best for your individual situation, as long as you and the other parent can come to an agreement. Alternatively, the matter can be decided by a judge. In both cases, it is likely that both of you will take on parenting responsibilities and you will need to make it work.
However, before you make any decisions about custody, you should first discuss the situation with your attorney to avoid agreeing to terms that are unenforceable, unfair or unwise.