A court will look to many factors under RSA 461-A:6 when making an initial determination of parental rights and responsibilities. Provided that each parent is capable of providing a safe, loving home, one of the most important factors that will be considered is the ability of each parent to support the relationship of the children with the other parent. Three specific factors under the statute read:
- "The ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and frequent and continuing physical, written, and telephonic contact with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent."
- " The support of each parent for the child's contact with the other parent as shown by allowing and promoting such contact, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent."
- "The support of each parent for the child's relationship with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent."
Following the Patriots amazing Superbowl victory (Yayyyyyy Pats!!!!), I came across an article commending actress Bridget Moynahan, Tom Brady's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his oldest child, for her gracious congratulatory tweet sent out while her son was celebrating on the field with his dad, stepmother and half-siblings:
Congratulations to the @Patriots! Sweet #4.— Bridget Moynahan (@bridgetmoynahan) February 2, 2015
Christine Coppa, the article's author and a single mom writes about the difficult journey a parent must go through to come out on the other side a supportive co-parent. She observes:
Moynahan has “moved past the bitter parts that most breakups create, and onto accepting their relationship as a unique family,” relationship expert Amy Spencer, author of Meeting Your Half-Orangeand Bright Side Up, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Her son should be damn proud of his dad, and that tweet is a beautiful sign that Bridget wants to support her son that way.”
Supportive co-parenting allows the child to see her parents as a team rather than as opponents, and that is critical to their adjustment and development. As mentioned above, it can also be the decisive factor for a court when determining residential responsibility. There are numerous resources available to assist parents in the co-parenting journey. Here are some of my favorites:
- The Co-Parenting Survival Guide: Letting Go Of Conflict After a Difficult Divorce by Elizabeth Thayer, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Zimmerman, Ph.D.
- Co-Parenting Classes - Crossroads of Parenting and Divorce at The Upper Room in Derry, NH
- BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns by Bill Eddy
- Co-Parent Solutions by Neutral Ground, LLC
- The Co-Parents' Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted, Resilient, and Resourceful Kids in a Two-Home Family from Little Ones to Young Adults by Karen Bonnell