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Navigating Child Custody Disputes: Strategies for Co-Parenting Success

Tips for Co-Parenting During Divorce

If divorce has become an inevitability, you are likely thinking about how you will co-parent with your soon-to-be ex. As part of the eventual divorce decree, there will be a court-ordered shared parenting arrangement that you and your future ex must abide by. Parenting agreements ensure that both parties follow the rules, but that doesn’t mean working together will be easy.

While no words can make the transition through the divorce process easy or predictable, following basic co-parenting tips can help your children as they transition to their new living arrangements. Along the way, the attorneys at Desert Legal Group will be here to provide advice for planning for parenting time and other issues that may arise.

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

Co-parenting refers to the practice where parents coordinate child-rearing decisions and share responsibilities when it comes to raising children. Communicating and collaborating are at the core of successful co-parenting.

Studies have shown that healthy co-parenting lowers the risk that your child will internalize negative feelings associated with a divorce. Co-parenting also reduces the risk that your child will externalize behavioral problems. By following these co-parenting tips and prioritizing the needs of your children during divorce, you can use the proven benefits of co-parenting to raise your children and address their emotional and developmental needs as life after divorce ensues.

Prioritize Communication

Successful co-parenting will not be possible unless there is an open line of communication between both parents. Going through a divorce can be very emotional. It can be difficult to keep personal feelings out of your communications, but you should try to remain civil and focused on your children. Open dialogue keeps important communication channels open so you and the other parents can make informed decisions about your child’s well-being.

Any form of communication may be suitable, depending on your preferences, such as emails, texts, instant messages, or communications sent via special co-parenting apps. The trail of

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

communications can also help you in family court by demonstrating that you consistently made good faith efforts to co-parent and work collaboratively with the other parent during the divorce.

Create a Plan

After your divorce and possibly during the divorce process, you will need to agree to a shared parenting arrangement. This agreement will be formalized in the divorce decree, but you can draft one with the help of your spouse and your respective attorneys during the divorce process. Creating a co-parenting plan is a great first step that can demonstrate to you both that working together in the interest of your children will lead to positive outcomes for everyone.

Topics of the agreement could include guidelines for who is expected to handle which responsibilities. You can also lay out the expectation that a parent is required to contact the other in the event of an emergency involving the children. Agreements regarding who sees which children during holidays are also important. These written terms can avoid conflict later on and provide a level of predictability that will ultimately benefit your children.

Even when an agreement is in place, both parents should be open to the possibility of making reasonable adjustments and accommodations in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Respect Boundaries

Respecting boundaries is crucial in co-parenting. Remember, you are in the process of legally changing the relationship you have with your spouse. Topics that were appropriate during your active marriage may no longer be appropriate.

Avoid discussing personal matters unrelated to your children’s welfare, such as past relationships, or making negative remarks about each other. Ensure all interactions remain respectful and professional.

Seek Professional Advice

You do not have to handle every aspect of co-parenting on your own. Speaking to friends, relatives, and child development professionals can allow you to benefit from their past experiences and professional training. Professionals can also help you become a better co-parent. There may be times when you and your spouse can benefit from separate or joint sessions aimed at improving communication skills that will allow for more effective co-parenting.

Separate Feelings from Behavior

Personal feelings should play little, if any, role in how you co-parent. Try to remain objective when communicating with the other parent. It’s OK to harbor personal feelings of anger and resentment against your spouse during the divorce process. That is a natural experience during divorce. Do your best to separate those feelings from your efforts at co-parenting.

You can find healthy ways to release pent-up emotions and frustrations. Never communicate negative emotions you feel toward your spouse to your children. Talk to anyone, such as friends, therapists, or even your pet. Getting negative feelings off your chest can help you become a better co-parent. Exercise is another healthy outlet for venting emotions during the divorce process.

Stay Focused on Your Children

When the divorce process becomes particularly emotional, it’s essential to keep your focus on your kids. While your identity as a husband or wife may be changing, your role as a parent remains constant, and your children still need you. In moments of sadness or despair, look at a photograph of your kids to remind yourself of what truly matters and find hope for the future. This perspective can help you stay grounded and committed to providing the support and love your children need during this challenging time.

Never Place Children in the Middle

Stay Focused on Your Children

During a divorce, your emotions may seem overwhelming at times. It can be easy to lose your cool in front of the children and talk disparagingly about your soon-to-be ex. Children are very sensitive to those outbursts, and it could ultimately harm them more than anyone else. Keep any issues you have with the other parent out of your kids’ earshot.

Maintain Discipline

While it is important to control your emotions in front of your children, it is also important to maintain discipline and order in your home. The same rules that apply before the divorce starts should continue. Ideally,

While it is important to control your emotions in front of your children, it is also important to maintain discipline and order in your home. The same rules that apply before the divorce starts should continue. Ideally, the other parent should mirror those rules and potential consequences.

Children benefit from consistency and uniformity in their home environments. If one parent is less disciplined, that could incline the child to push the limits of what they can get away with when they are with the less disciplined parent. Ultimately, this could undercut the other parent and lead to resentment.

Benefits of Co-Parenting for Your Children

The benefits of co-parenting are clear. Co-parenting shows your children that they are still the center of your and your ex’s lives. The tips in this article will help your children grow, both emotionally and intellectually, under the guidance of two loving parents.

Benefits of Co-Parenting for Your Children

Through your co-parenting partnership, children will recognize that they are more important than the conflict that ended your marriage. Despite the changing circumstances, your love and commitment to them remain steadfast.

Kids whose divorced parents have a cooperative relationship can enjoy these benefits:

  • Feeling more secure. Children who see their parents working together can feel more safe and secure because they enjoy the love and affection of both parents. Children are better able to adjust to the changes that come during divorce when they see that their relationship with both parents has not changed.
  • Comfort from consistency. Co-parenting preserves many of the aspects of child-rearing that happen in families where both parents are married. Even though the parents now live apart, children can benefit from stability, knowing that discipline and rewards will be uniformly administered at either home so they can understand what is expected of them.
  • Problem-solving lessons. Children who see their parents working together during a difficult transition period will learn that peacefully resolving problems has benefits. They may mirror those approaches later in life, both in school environments and as adults.
  • Setting good examples to follow. Co-parenting sets a positive example that your children can follow, helping them build and maintain stronger relationships in the future.

Benefits of Co-Parenting for Your Children

Child Custody FAQs

If you are contemplating filing for divorce or recently found out that your spouse filed for divorce, you likely have questions and concerns about how you will co-parent. The attorneys at Desert Legal Group, PLLC, are here to answer your questions.

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Co-Parenting?

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Co-Parenting?

One of the most common mistakes parents make when co-parenting is failing to make a good faith effort at co-parenting. Working with your soon-to-be ex can seem like a daunting task, but many former couples have made it work. The ultimate goal of those efforts is to help your children transition to their new living situation. As the years go on, co-parenting will play an important role in nurturing their growth into healthy young adults.

What Does Failure to Co-Parent Look Like?

What Does Failure to Co-Parent Look Like?

It only takes one parent’s failure to co-parent to disrupt the entire process. When communication breaks down, and both parents bicker over their duties and responsibilities, that is a sign that co-parenting is failing. The good news is that the process can be improved at any point. It may take a neutral third party like a therapist to ultimately fix the underlying issues at hand.

How Can I Co-Parent With a Difficult Ex?

How Can I Co-Parent With a Difficult Ex?

If your ex is difficult to work with, it may ultimately take extra effort on your part to make co-parenting work. This may mean that you have to ignore passive-aggressive texts and messages when working toward the greater good of raising your children.

Ultimately, any lack of cooperation in co-parenting may work against that parent. The courts do not look favorably on parents who do not understand or appreciate the importance of co-parenting during and after divorce.

What Are Some Successful Tips for Co-Parenting?

What Are Some Successful Tips for Co-Parenting?

Stay focused on your children. Find healthy ways to vent negative feelings away from your children. Stay positive and realize that co-parenting is not easy. You may need to seek advice from your attorney or another person you trust.

Schedule Your Divorce Consultation Today

Schedule Your Divorce Consultation Today

If you are preparing to go through a divorce, it is essential to begin considering how you will co-parent during the divorce and after. Given time, many ex-partners learn to co-parent successfully. While those efforts are not always easy or perfect, it is ultimately your children who benefit when you and your former spouse work together.

The attorneys at Desert Legal Group understand how emotional the idea of co-parenting can be as you begin the divorce process, but we have guided many clients through this challenging time. As your legal counsel, we will provide advice and tips on a wide range of areas, including how you can work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse when co-parenting. To schedule your divorce consultation, contact our office today.

*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published



Cabrera, N. J., Scott, M. A., Fagan, J., White, L. K., & Roggman, L. A. (2023). Coparenting patterns and child social-emotional development in low-income families with young children. Child Development, 94(1), 109-127. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13904