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5 Tips for Co-Parenting After a Divorce

A divorce isn’t easy, but it’s even more complicated when children are involved. You’ve got to divide your holidays, coordinate pick ups and drop offs, and split time between two houses.

While emotions tend to run hot after a divorce, your child custody situation will work much better if you can agree to co-parent your children in a respectful, cooperative manner. The following guidelines will help you find a co-parenting arrangement that works for you, your ex, and your children.

  1. Remember – it’s not all about you

    Your divorce was about you (and your ex), but your custody arrangement is about your children. Don’t use your children to get what you want from your ex – don’t treat your children like a prize. You have to set your ego aside and remember that what’s best for your children isn’t always what’s best for you.

  2. Bad spouse doesn’t mean bad parent

    Things may not have worked out with your ex, but no matter how badly he or she dropped the ball, that doesn’t mean they’re a bad parent. Remember – your child loves your ex, and your ex loves your child. It’s important to let them spend time together.

  3. Be realistic about your life schedule

    Many parents have a gut reaction to try to grab as much time with their children as possible – but that may not be a smart choice for a newly-single parent. You’ll be on your own, with unique commitments and a new schedule. Set your emotions aside and make a realistic decision for your custody arrangement.

  4. Make sure your custody arrangement works with your kids’ schedule

    Children of different ages will have different schedules and needs. Infants will typically remain with their mothers, but studies have shown that older children actually benefit from splitting time with both parents.

    The most common custody arrangements are set up like this:

    • 2-2-3 plan – Monday and Tuesday are spent with one parent, Wednesday and Thursday with the other, and Friday through Sunday with the first parent. The schedule flips between parents every week.
    • 2-2-5 plan – Monday and Tuesday with Mom, Wednesday and Thursday with Dad, and Friday through Sunday will alternate between parents each week. This typically works better with older children who have established schedules.
    • Alternate week plan – Children spend the entire week with one parent, then the following week with the other parent.
    • 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends – Children spend all of their time with one parent, but they spend Friday afternoon through Sunday with the other parent on the first, third, and 5th weekends of every month.

    You’ll want to set up your custody arrangement so that it works best with both your child’s schedule (school, sports, childcare, etc.), and you and your ex’s schedules.

  5. Never speak poorly about your ex

    No matter how upset you are with your ex, you have to remember that your children still love your ex. Keep your feelings to yourself and be careful to never say anything negative about your ex in front of your children.

If you have any additional questions about child custody or a divorce involving children, call us today at (214) 849-1905 to set up a consultation. We’re here to help!