You have probably read many of our other articles on co-parenting and are familiar with the phrase “best interests”. We use it often, as do the courts, and anyone else involved in the health and well-being of children whose parents are going through a separation or divorce. In fact, you may have even said those words yourself when discussing the needs of your child.
Because the fact is no matter how much conflict was present in the separation or divorce, both you and your ex-partner want what is in the best interests of your children. In this article, we will go over why this is important for co-parenting.
What Does Best Interests Mean to Co-Parents?
What best interests mean to co-parents can vary from co-parenting couple to co-parenting couple; however, most agree with the general psychological definition of what best interests is. For most co-parents, best interests means that children will have their essential needs met. In addition, both co-parents will make sure the children feel loved and are free to love each parent. Another idea that is incorporated into the meaning is that children are allowed to grow and develop in healthy ways, which can be difficult during a separation or divorce. Finally, best interests means that even with two homes, children can reach their full potential. In a nutshell, these are really why it is so important for co-parents to keep best interests in mind.
What Does Best Interests Mean to the Courts?
Legally, best interests of the child is a legal term that judges use to decide on the standard of a co-parenting arrangement. Where you live can affect what those standards are and it can shift slightly from judge to judge. If you are heading into any family court cases with co-parenting, be aware of the standards for best interests in your area so you and your ex-partner can come up with a co-parenting plan that reflects those standards.
Generally, the best interests of the children will make sure that the physical and emotional well-being of the child are being met and that they are receiving protection for their mental, emotional and physical state. Their needs such as food, shelter, clothing need to be met in addition to other standards the local court will use. This can also affect visitation and living arrangements if the courts deem contact with one parent is not in the best interest of the child.
Best Interest Allows You to Work through Conflicts
One of the most important things that you can do as co-parents is avoid conflicts or deal with them efficiently when you have them. Agreeing to approach all conflicts with the best interests of your children in mind will help you work through those conflicts in an easier manner.
Even if you are having a difficult time working through a conflict, when you keep your child’s best interest in mind, you can avoid a lot of arguments in front of the child. By keeping your conflicts to the 2houses app, or when the child can’t overhear, you can help nurture and protect their emotional and mental well-being.
Best Interest Allows Your Children to Thrive
This ties into the last point but when you focus on best interests, you are able to make decisions that will help your child thrive, even if it is upsetting to you as a parent. It also allows you to be respectful to your co-parent in a lot of different ways. This is particularly important when you look at visitation time; with your child’s best interest in mind, you can simply allow them to enjoy that time with a well-loved parent without cutting into that time with texts and other distractions. This one on one time is very important for children to thrive and feel loved and supported.
Best Interests Allows You and Your Ex-Partner to Co-Parent Efficiently
As mentioned already, keeping your child’s best interests in mind will help you in many ways as co-parents. You can avoid conflicts, respect time with the children, and you can co-parent efficiently. So why does this happen? Well, the main reason is that you are less likely to fight about the little things. Instead, you will approach things in a more logical manner that takes out your or your co-parent’s ego. There will be decisions that need to be made that don’t take either of you into account and that is okay.
When you can approach co-parenting in this manner, you find ways to work together. You limit interactions if you need to and keep it to an app such as 2houses, or you work with mediators. If you can interact, you look at it as a relationship that orbits your children completely and it makes it easier to leave those negative emotions on the shelf where they belong.
Best Interests Puts Your Children First and Above both of You
Finally, when your children come first and above both of you, they really do thrive. This doesn’t mean ignoring your needs, it just means that your kids’ needs are met first and then you look after your own. When kids feel supported, loved, and have a healthy co-parenting relationship nourishing and meeting their needs and wants, they can focus on just being kids, regardless of how stressful the initial separation or divorce was.
In the end, keeping the best interests of your children in mind is beneficial to everyone in the co-parenting arrangement. You, your ex-partner and your children will feel more secure in the relationship and you’ll find that you are able to build trust and mutual respect for your co-parent since you both have the same goal—making sure your children thrive.