While many experts may say that a healthy co-parenting relationship is the ideal post-divorce arrangement, it is not possible for all parents. Several elements must be in place for people to co-parent successfully. These include the ability to communicate, consistent rules between households, adherence to the custody schedule but flexibility if it must change and respect for one another as parents. Individuals should also agree on major issues like religion and education, have clear boundaries and behave amicably at events they must both attend for the children.
There are certain situations that can make co-parenting difficult or impossible. For example, in cases of parental alienation, one parent tries to turn the child against the other parent. Exes who have strong negative emotions about one another may also struggle to co-parent. There may also be problems for people who simply cannot collaborate or if one person is particularly controlling.
Some situations may make co-parenting impossible, such as if one parent is incarcerated, while others may mean the child is not safe with the other parent. Examples might be if someone has a substance abuse issue, has been guilty of abuse against the other parent or displays sexually inappropriate behavior. A parent with a psychological disorder may be unable to care for a child.
In some of these cases, parents may simply have to do their best since the court system usually takes the position that it is best that a child has a relationship with both parents as long as there is no danger. However, if the child is unsafe, a person may want to ask the court to deny a parent's access to the child or only approve supervised visitation. In some cases, parents may get more access if they comply with a court order, such as going to rehab.