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5 ground rules to make co-parenting work

In today’s world, it is more common for parents to look for ways to successfully co-parent after a divorce. With co-parenting, the focus is on parents sharing responsibilities equally rather than distinguishing a custodial and non-custodial parent. Despite any animosity you face with your ex, co-parenting involves putting your differences aside and focusing on what is right for your children.

The following tips can help you and your spouse keep co-parenting neutral and successful as your entire family adjusts to a new system.

1. Never put children in the center of an argument

As you adjust to your new life, it is likely that you will have an argument or disagreement with your ex. When this happens, never force your children to make a choice about which parent is right and which is wrong. Keep all arguments and discussions separate from your kids so they do not feel unhealthy pressure to manage your relationships.

2. Schedule dates to discuss parenting plans

Each month, schedule a time to sit down and speak with your ex about any changes that need to be made to your parenting plan. You may even choose to include your children in the family meeting to discuss activities, school and any part of the schedule that should be changed. This gives your kids the security of a family without requiring you to stay married to someone you disagree with.

3. Keep it consistent

Whether the children are with you or your spouse, they need to keep a consistent schedule. It is difficult for a child to adjust to a new home or schedule every few days. If you are on the same page as your ex and you both do your best to follow the schedule, the kids benefit from a more stable home life.

4. Let your kids be ordinary

Children need to do normal, everyday things with both parents. Do not feel pressure to entertain your kids or plan activities every second they are with you. Let life be as normal as possible when they are at either home.

5. Create a co-parenting plan during your divorce

It helps to have your plan down on paper to prevent disagreements and misunderstandings, and an attorney can help you create a co-parenting plan as part of your divorce. If you are separating from your spouse and want to protect your children with a healthy parenting plan, consult an attorney immediately.

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