While co-parenting may be seen as the ideal situation for parents and children after divorce, it may not be possible for some parents in Arizona. Some situations, such as the incarceration or abandonment of one parent, make it impossible. There are other situations that threaten the safety of the child. These include parents who are violent, inappropriately sexual, neglectful or addicted to alcohol or drugs. Co-parenting may also be impossible if one parent has taken out a restraining order on the other.
There are also situations that may not put the child in danger but that make effective communication impossible. This could include a parent who is consumed with anger at the other parent, who is mentally abusive to the other parent or who tries to use the children in a battle for control of the other parent. Some parents may have a psychological disorder. Others may try to influence the child against the other parent. A parent who moves frequently and generally leads an unstable life may make co-parenting difficult.
Among the qualities parents need to co-parent successfully are openness, clear boundaries and consistency in scheduling and rules. They should be amicable with one another at public events and avoid speaking disrespectfully about one another when the children are around. Parents also need to agree on such issues as education, religion and health care.
The right to make decisions about issues such as these is known as having legal custody while physical custody refers to who the child lives with. Courts try to ensure that children have time with both parents even when there is conflict between the two, but they also put the safety of children first. Parents who are concerned about the child's safety may want to talk to an attorney about what kind of documentation they may need to provide and how to proceed.