If unmarried parents in North Carolina share legal custody of their children, they share the decision-making power in their children’s lives as well. Regardless of how you and your co-parent get along, agreeing on decisions is not always an easy thing to do. So, here are a few tips that parents can use to handle this often-challenging aspect of co-parenting.
1. Have a written strategy in your parenting plan
The purpose of the parenting plan is to create guidelines for co-parenting. Regarding decisions, you can establish some ground rules for:
- How you will approach decisions that affect your children – whether they are large or small
- Agree on steps to follow in the event of an emergency
- Address how you will handle disagreements
It is important to remember that your parenting plan is what you make it. You can always adjust it as your family evolves and changes. However, putting effort into it when you create it will help immensely in the long run.
2. Plan ahead
Even if you have a parenting plan, it will help to be proactive about individual decisions. For example, if you scheduled your child’s annual physical or wellness exam, it is a good idea to communicate with your co-parent about the details. After all, parents who share legal custody must agree when making medical decisions for their child.
It is not always possible to plan ahead for life events or decisions. However, parents should attempt to do so as much as possible to avoid stress and conflict.
3. Put your kids first
Prioritizing your child’s needs is the foundation of all types of parenting. It may be obvious, but it is important to remember that even though co-parents have the decision-making power, the outcome of the decision will ultimately affect your child. Therefore, it is critical to put them, their needs and their future first when making any decisions.