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How to ease into co-parenting after divorce

Starting anything new can be quite nerve-racking at first. But taking a joint approach to parenting your children post-divorce can help keep you and your ex-spouse on the same page and provide security for your children all at the same time.

Laying down a solid foundation as you transition to parenting your children from one home to two homes can make way for consistency for many years to come. You can begin to shift your lifestyle and set up safe environments for your children by:

  • Devising a plan: Creating a comprehensive co-parenting plan can help relieve initial anxiety. This is because you can a schedule and plan for the daily, weekly and monthly routines you’d like your children to follow. A detailed plan — including parenting time arrangements, school activities and when and where you will meet to exchange your kids — can serve as a road map to navigating shared custody. You can also find comfort in knowing you can alter the plan as your children grow or if it isn’t serving the best interests of your children.
  • Setting boundaries: As you co-parent, you should aim to be both kind and communicative with your ex. However, even if you feel like your ex is someone you can trust to be understanding and flexible when it comes to last-minute schedule changes, you should still have some kind of protocol in place. Perhaps, a per month limit to sudden changes can prevent both you and your ex-spouse from taking advantage of one another.
  • Prioritizing your children: Even if you and your ex created a co-parenting plan that keeps your children’s needs in mind every step of the way, it’s also important to leave them out in some places for their own well-being. Specifically, you shouldn’t rely on your children to be a messenger between you and your ex or make them pick sides if you and your ex are in a disagreement.

Careful planning through each step of the divorce process can help you and your ex raise your children with the same care and attention you would apply if you still lived together.