Helping a child keep relationships with parents after divorce

When California parents get a divorce, it is generally important to keep both parents in the child's life even if the child does not live with one of them. If one parent places the child in danger, this is an exception, but if the parents simply disagree about how to raise the child or think the other is not a particularly good parent, this is not a sufficient reason.

Both parents can take steps to ensure that the child maintains a relationship with each of them. They should keep their conflict between one another and not involve the child.

In some cases, a parent might need to make sacrifices in other areas to make sure the noncustodial parent has access to the child. For example, one woman moved 80 miles away from her son's father, and at one point, she did not even have a car to take the child to meet his father. This required the father to make an extra effort to maintain a relationship with the child. Eventually, the mother left the area and moved closer to the father again even though this meant leaving the home she owned and paying rent on an apartment. It also required the child to leave the friends he had made there, but he was able to create a better relationship with his father.

Issues such as what happens if one parent moves away may be covered in a parenting plan. In some cases, if relocation will affect custody, parents might need to return to court before it can happen. Parents may want to make an effort to negotiate a child custody and visitation agreement instead of going to litigation. Even though court uses the standard of the best interests of the child, parents may be able to reach a solution that works better for them and their family.

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