When co-parenting after divorce, the child's parents will share parenting responsibilities. Child psychologists and other experts believe that co-parenting is the most effective and recommended parenting strategy for children after a divorce. In a co-parenting arrangement, parents will decide to share the many responsibilities involved in child care.

For an effective co-parenting arrangement, parents must agree to cooperate, and communicate with each other. They must also agree to compromise their own self-interest in favor of the best interests of the child.

That is often easier said than done. Egos can clash after a divorce, and for this reason, co-parenting is not recommended at all in those cases where the couple still suffers from the aftereffects of a hostile divorce. In other words, if your divorce was marked by rancor, then you are better off with another type of parenting arrangement.

Here are some tips on how to co-parent after divorce.

Control your Emotions

It’s very important to separate all of your emotions from your parenting duties. Learn to set aside whatever baggage you have carried over from your divorce, and refuse to allow negative emotions to surface in front of your child. Not that you should act as if you never feel sad or angry, but until your child has adapted to the new lifestyle, avoid tying any additional negative emotions to the situation.

Focus on Your Child

This is key to successful co-parenting. If you feel disappointed or frustrated at the behavior of your ex-spouse, focus on the fact that this type of parenting is what your child needs the most. Remember that your ex is also doing everything possible to help move forward and you may not be the only one compromising during your divorce.

Don't Vent to Your Child

Your child is not your therapist or your friend. Try a support group or friends and family. Ultimately, you might undermine yourself by grousing to your child. He or she will come to his or her own conclusions as time progresses.

Consult with the Other Parent

Frequently discuss your child's progress with your former spouse. Give adequate time for important decisions. For instance, it may be a good idea to determine beforehand who is going to pay for the child’s transportation expenses, or for extracurricular activities. Money issues and determining who has to pay for what can lead to disputes.

Check Your Ego

Successful co-parenting is not about you, or your spouse. It's all about your child. Don't worry about whether your child is more attached to your ex-spouse than you, and don't try to one-up your ex. This may teach your child materialism or boastfulness and can also have long-term detrimental effects on the psyche or sociability of your child.

Co-parenting arrangements are very successful, but they are not suitable child custody agreements for all. To discuss whether these arrangements will suit your situation, call 425-460-0550 and speak with family lawyer Molly Kenny. You can also schedule a consultation by filling out the contact form.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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