When going through divorce, many New Jersey parents are focused on making the most out of any custody proceedings. Co-parenting may be an option that many individuals work toward for child custody, and in many cases, it is successful. However, there may be instances in which one parent may not maintain full participation as expected, and problems could arise.

Some may refer to a parent that steps back from actively being in a child’s life as a “gopher” parent. The term is attributed to a perception that some parents seem to to appear and disappear whenever it is convenient. This could cause difficulties for the parent who remains active consistently in the child’s life. It may also be problematic for the child.

To avoid such a situation, it may be helpful to work toward lessening the likelihood that one parent feels alienated. Many gopher parents step back due to tensions or arguments between the parents, and creating an amicable relationship may help reduce any potential tension. Of course, even well-intentioned parents can face disagreements. Co-parenting is not always perfect, even when both parties put their best foot forward.

If a parent is coming into and leaving a child’s life whenever that parent feels like it, the child could be negatively affected. As a result, the primary parent may wish to consider what steps could be taken to create more consistency in the child’s life. If New Jersey residents feel that child custody modifications could help create a better situation for their children, they have every right to gather more information on such an option.

Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Tips for Dealing with a Gopher Co-Parent“, Marina Edelman, Jan. 29, 2016