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Raising a child post divorce requires intentional co-parenting

A previous post discussed a recent debate centered on child custody decisions, specifically which parent should be awarded primary custody. Figuring out the co-parenting schedule can seem like the most challenging part of a custody dispute, but what happens after the agreement is signed and in place?

For many parents, the bigger challenge comes after the divorce is finalized. Parents now separated are faced with the task of co-existing while still providing the best environment for their children. Often the decision to co-parent is made together, and there can be a lot of bumps in the road to come.

There are different factors that can play into a co-parenting relationship. The biggest factor is obviously the children. With two schedules, two homes and potentially two styles of child-rearing, things can get a little crazy. Putting the needs of the child before your own can help the transition.

But another factor that will impact the co-parenting relationship is your relationship with your former spouse. Even though you’ve gotten divorced, co-parenting will necessitate an ongoing relationship with your ex. You may be thinking, “How is this going to work? We got divorced because our relationship wasn’t working!”

That may be, but here are some suggestions that could help:

  • Be intentional about supporting your ex spouse
  • Focus on your ex spouse’s good qualities
  • Be flexible – plans change unexpectedly
  • Watch how you speak about your ex spouse in front of your children
  • Learn from one another
  • Work together

It can be difficult at times, but having a strong co-parenting plan in place can also help the parties involved.

Source: Huffington Post, “9 Ways to Co-Parent Like a Grown-Up,” Emma Bathie, March 28, 2014.

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