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Understanding when shared parenting is a bad idea

Divorcing couples who have had children together face a unique set of challenges when they have to decide how to continue to parent their children despite the break in their relationship. Often, many families in California turn to shared parenting as a viable option to allow children to continue to develop healthy relationships with both of their parents. However, there are times when this arrangement is actually quite damaging and can create more stress and tension than usual. 

According to Psychology Today, studies have shown that parents who make the decision to share the parenting responsibilities and co-parent even though they are no longer pursuing a relationship with each other, are often less stressed and happier. Meanwhile, parents who maintain sole custody or who are constantly fighting each other in regards to child custody and care, are usually dealing with much higher amounts of anxiety and stress. 

While there are certainly things that couples can do to arrange a beneficial and productive co-parenting arrangement, there are undoubtedly instances when shared parenting is not appropriate. According to the Huffington Post, parents should explore other options regarding child custody if they experience any of the following during their divorce:

  • One parent has had to relocate and lives significantly further away than the other parent.
  • One or both parents have regular personality disturbances that lead to consistent and extreme conflict.
  • There has been a history of domestic violence in the relationship. 
  • One or both parents has a history of using drugs or alcohol.

In cases where one parent is trying to prevent their children from visiting or maintaining a relationship with the other parent, a co-parenting arrangement can also lead to negative consequences and higher conflict. 

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