Child custody can be a rocky road during the divorce process. To help ensure that the child custody arrangement is developed and implemented in a manner that is best for the child, it is helpful for divorced parents to be familiar with tips to help with co-parenting.
Co-parenting can be difficult in any circumstances but following a divorce some tips may be able to help parents more effectively work together and co-parent. Some common tips for successful co-parenting include:
- Be open about the divorce: Open communication about the divorce and what is going on can help children understand and adjust to the divorce. It can help to create a safe space to talk about the divorce so the children can express any concerns they may have.
- Do not involve children in the divorce: Parents should not vent to the children or involve them in the divorce struggles. Openness does not mean sharing frustrations one parent may have with the other with the children.
- Maintain continuity: As much as possible, it is helpful to maintain consistency and stability in the lives of the children and this can include by maintaining their existing relationships with friends and relatives as well.
- Be there for the children: The divorce can take a physical, emotional and psychological toll on everyone. It is important to be available to the children and make sure to spend quality time with them.
- Support one another: Parents should work together and support one another as much as possible following the divorce. It will be helpful for them to remain unified on parenting decisions and for one parent, as an example, not to try to compensate for the divorce by failing to maintain consistency.
- Respect one another: Though it may be challenging following divorce, parents should work to treat one another with respect especially when they are interacting in front of the children.
- Seek help and take care of themselves: Parents should not be afraid to ask for help, seek counseling if needed and maintain self care.
Most importantly, the key to co-parenting at any time, including after divorce, is to put the children first. The child custody process focuses on what is best for the children and if parents remain focused on that, they can develop a child custody plan that is best for the child and may find they have any easier time co-parenting with that focus in mind.