Think Twice About Saying You Can’t Co-Parent

Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.

By Allison Schreiber Lee

Getting divorced is difficult, but what people sometimes fail to realize is that if you have children, your interaction with your former spouse continues long after the divorce is finished whether you like it or not. In most cases, courts in Missouri grant joint legal custody, which requires that parents work together in making legal decisions for the children’s well-being. Agreeing when you are married can be difficult; agreeing after you are divorced can be even more so.

Often parents call their attorneys to tell us how it is impossible to co-parent with their former spouse or how they simply cannot get along. While ex-partners frequently don’t get along very well, the ramifications of their disharmony are often unexpected and very harmful to children. If a court determines that parents cannot communicate effectively (which can be very hard to prove, given that many divorced parents have difficulty with each other) the court can award sole legal custody to one parent. This means that one parent gets to make all major decisions for the children without the other parent having meaningful participation. Practically speaking, this can mean that if your ex is given sole legal custody, your ability to say “no” to legal custody issues (such as choice of schools, doctors, extracurricular activities, and summer camps) or to have any input can be significantly or completely restricted.

So when determining whether something is worth fighting for with your ex and when deciding whether to make every issue a difficult one, be aware that your actions now, and your willingness to communicate, can come back later to haunt you or help you. For any assistance in these issues, the family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. can help guide you through the process.

 

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Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee is a seasoned trial attorney and has been lead counsel in more than 40 jury trials. In 2011, Ms. Schreiber Lee was co-lead counsel in one of the longest jury trials in the history of the City of St. Louis. Ms. Lee has also tried more than 100 non-jury trials to verdict, including representation in divorce and modification hearings.
Allison Schreiber Lee

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