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5 Tips for Co-Parenting After Divorce

Parenting with an ex-spouse can be difficult. Here are 5 tips to help co-parents and their children after divorce.

Sarah Jacobs Co-Founder Jacobs Berger, LLC

Even though your divorce ended many of your legal and financial obligations to your former partner, one important obligation which has not ended is that of being parents to your children. Co-parenting successfully with a former spouse after a divorce can be difficult but is also extremely important for the healthy development and lifestyles of your children. With that importance in mind, here are 5 tips to help you build a successful co-parenting relationship with your ex after a divorce. 

Tip #1: Create a co-parenting plan 

One of the first and most important steps you and your former spouse can take toward nurturing a successful co-parenting relationship is to create a solid co-parenting plan

This plan would essentially outline the responsibilities of you and your co-parent, regarding your children as well as each other. Who will handle which aspects of your children’s lives? How and when will you both be expected to communicate with each other regarding any issues your children may face, or decisions you have made regarding any of these issues? What will the parenting schedule look like? Will one parent have your children on certain weekends or holidays? 

Having a clear understanding in place which outlines each parent’s role in their kid’s lives, their individual responsibilities, their custody schedule, and their responsibilities to the other parent, can lay an extremely important groundwork for the success of your co-parenting relationship. 

Tip #2: Try not to undermine the other parent’s authority 

If you or your co-parent actively goes against any of the rules or policies of the other parent, or badmouths the other parent to their children, this may affect your children’s healthy development into adulthood. Doing so can leave them feeling conflicted over which parent’s advice or guidance to follow and can lead to parental alienation. 

If you have any reason to disagree with the choices or actions of your co-parent, raise these concerns with them privately. If you need a secure, accountable method for communication, consider using a co-parenting app, like TalkingParents. If speaking with your co-parent one-on-one doesn’t work, discuss these matters with an experienced child custody lawyer regarding your potential options. It may be possible to modify your custody agreement if one parent is actively undermining the authority of the other parent, or attempting to practice parental alienation, which is when one parent poisons their children’s relationship with the other parent. 

Tip #3: Learn to compromise 

As a follow up to our previous point, it is important that both parents learn to respect the other parent’s individual parental rights, and learn how to make compromises in this, and many other areas. 

While you may not have been able to reach compromises with your ex while you were married, you may now find that because your relationship and obligations to one-another have significantly changed, it might be easier to make these ultimately necessary compromises. 

Try discussing any issues that come up with a close friend or a family member, as by doing so, you can often gain valuable insights into your situation which can help you to compromise and “let go” of certain issues which are beyond your control. 

Tip #4: Clear your legal slate

If you and/or your ex have any outstanding legal issues, such as a pending post-divorce modification or a family order appeal, it’s important to resolve these. Why? Any outstanding issues can make it difficult to follow through on the previous three co-parenting tips.   

Tip #5: Be there for your children

Divorce is not just an emotional and mental ordeal for parents; it is also quite an ordeal for the children involved. Studies have shown that divorce can have a negative impact on the mental health of children, and it’s important to do what you can to minimize any bad feelings. With that, it’s crucial for both co-parents to be there to support their children emotionally during and after divorce. Ongoing planned quality time is a positive way to help show your children that you see them and are there to support them throughout the divorce process.

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