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Why you may be hearing more about co-parenting agreements

Change can happen swiftly if conditions are right. The move in the U.S. recognizing the legality of same-sex marriage in just the past few years is one example. Legal attitudes around other issues may take more time. Parenting plans when couples divorce or otherwise end their roman tic relationships serve as a case in point.

For more than 40 years, the model for families after a relational split followed a common pattern. The children spent most of their time with mother. Dad saw them every other weekend. Time during holidays might alternate year to year. The trend these days, supported by legislative action in many states, including Texas, emphasizes starting from a base line that presumes near-equal parenting responsibility is what serves the best interests of children.

The co-parenting challenge

The working theory behind the shared parenting concept is expressed in a booklet published by the Texas Attorney General's Office. A paraphrasing of the position goes like this: Every child needs love and support from both of his or her parents. And even if the parents are unable to live under the same roof, they can fulfill their parenting responsibilities of they commit to set conflict aside and work together.

Unfortunately, that level of collaboration isn't something for which most people are equipped. It can take some training. On the bright side, it is possible to find classes through which the necessary communication skills can be acquired.

It is important to keep in mind that even as shared parenting appears to gain momentum, it does not automatically create a new cookie cutter approach. Parenting plans can vary greatly, influenced by factors that are unique to your family unit. However, by honoring the value of the parent-child relationship and taking stock of individual situations with the help of an experienced attorney, a plan that offers a clear view of the future is possible.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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