Child Custody and Co-Parenting

Man with two sons walking hand in hand into the sunset.

What is in the best interests of the children? This question is the fundamental principle in any proceeding involving the parenting arrangements for minor children. Answering this question can be one of the most difficult and contentious problems facing parents who decide to separate. It would be ideal if all parents who decide to live apart could be of one mind and work together when it comes to raising their children. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. When parents are unable to reach an agreement on their own, Family Court Services will provide mediation services to facilitate an agreement or make recommendations. In more difficult situations the court has additional resources that it will use to determine the best interests of the children. However, each step is more time consuming, more expensive, and outcome less certain because the Judge may decide the parenting arrangements, not the parents themselves. In addition, parenting questions can be greatly complicated when substance abuse is an issue or when domestic violence is present.