Kids should remain your top focus when separating and divorcing. Absent an agreement on handling custody and visitation, the court steps in to make decisions with an eye on what is in the best interests of the children. Co-parenting is a method of raising children separately that family law courts encourage.
Understanding some basics of co-parenting may prove beneficial when working on a divorce agreement and custody plan.
What is co-parenting?
Parents who live apart need to raise their children in a manner that keeps them safe and encourages healthy relationships. Co-parenting children after divorce means that you and your ex will continue to share the responsibilities and duties of raising your children. You agree to some ground rules and remain open and communicative as your children grow.
How can you set yourself up for success?
It helps to hash out a plan for how you want to manage your children after divorce. Co-parenting agreements typically include a schedule that accounts for where your children will reside every night of the year. You may also want to consider adding in basic parenting rules, such as:
- The frequency of extracurricular activities
- Phone and video communication with children when with the other parent
- Bedtimes and health care practices
- Schedule exceptions and disagreement process
Is there an alternative?
Some parents do not have the emotional wherewithal to co-parent effectively, especially if the feelings around the divorce were contentious. Parallel parenting provides an option if you and your ex want to have no contact with each other but continue to support your children’s emotional and mental growth.
Your children’s well-being should remain centerstage, even after divorce. Fostering a positive experience with their other parent can help ensure they have a chance to flourish.