How can we make co-parenting work?

Filing for divorce can leave spouses facing many worries. What will their financial future look like? Where will they live? 

However, one of the most common anxieties that divorcing spouses face is how they will manage to co-parent after everything in the divorce is said and done. With the emotional history between two divorced parents, this is an understandable worry. 

There is no question that co-parenting with an ex-spouse can be a complicated situation. But here are three things that Virginians should consider to help them make co-parenting work. 

1. Rules

To co-parent successfully, parents must put their child's needs and best interests before anything else. And one way to do this is to emphasize consistency and stability in the child's life.

Parents should make sure they establish the same rules their children must follow, no matter which parent they are with. These rules can include:

  • What chores children should complete
  • When children should go to bed
  • What children are allowed to watch on TV

And parents must commit to enforcing these rules.

2. Communication

When parents live in the same house, it is easy for them to obtain the same information about their child's life. This is not so when they no longer live together after a divorce. 

Therefore, co-parents must maintain regular communication regarding their children, including:

  • Updates about school and health
  • Rule changes or rule-breaking at their home
  • Information about activities or holidays

Routine communication can help reduce the chance of conflict significantly. 

Nowadays, many children have cellphones that allow them to reach out to their other parent. However, it is still critical that parents update their co-parent themselves, and do not leave that responsibility up to their children. 

3. Respect

Co-parenting will not work without respect.

Going through a divorce is an emotional and overwhelming experience. And the mix of emotions makes it easy for spouses to remain angry or bitter at one another. 

However, it is important for individuals to remember that an ex-spouse is still the parent of their child. Establishing mutual respect for them as a parent, as well as respecting their time with the children is essential.

It can be daunting and difficult to co-parent with an ex-spouse after a divorce. But applying these tips can help divorcing parents prepare co-parenting strategies that meet their family's needs. 

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