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How can you successfully co-parent after divorce?

Divorce is complex. Not only is it usually an unexpected process, but it can stir up many emotions and negativity. Because of that, many North Carolina parents seek to do everything they can to protect their children throughout and following marriage dissolution. When amicability is possible and fair and open communication is present, a co-parenting relationship is often sought by parents. But this does not mean this child custody agreement is not filled with its obstacles and pitfalls. While no custody arrangement is perfect, there are ways to make them more successful.

How can you successfully co-parent after divorce? The best way to set the stage for success is for parents to normalize the co-parenting situation. This means making all forms of communication clear with your children as well as your former spouse. Although a two-parent model in one home is considered to be an ideal environment for a child, the aspects of this model can be mimicked in a two-home joint custody arrangement.

Divorced parents should recognize that just because they are now raising their children in two homes does not mean that they are raising their children independently. After all, routines will likely need to be kept, and parents still need to work together to ensure their children's best interests are furthered. It is possible to make the best out of the circumstances, providing a stable environment and relationship with both parents.

It is true that the relationship between divorced parents is oftentimes different when compared to when they were married, which can impact the relationship between them and their children. However, this change does not mean that parenting issues cannot be resolved or that divorce cannot be turned into a positive experience. Accommodations can be made and boundaries and be explicitly set and clarified. One mistake co-parents make is engaging in parallel parenting. This occurs when each parent has different schedules and rules, thereby creating confusion and disruption in the children's lives.

Getting on the same page and working through problems is the best way to develop a successful co-parenting relationship. While this might seem easier said than done, parents willing to work at this arrangement will make it work well. However, if you are experiencing child custody issues and need assistance resolving them, it is important to take the time to understand your legal rights and options in the matter.

Source: Divorce Magazine, "Successful Co-Parenting Communication after Divorce," Jeffrey Cottrill, March 21, 2017

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