For most children, the presence of both parents in their life is a key part of healthy development. This is true even if parents divorce and are no longer living together – a child will likely benefit from spending time with both parents. As such, many divorcing parents choose to continue co-parenting after divorce, sharing custody and managing a child’s schedule, needs, and upbringing collectively.

As beneficial as co-parenting after divorce may be for a child, though, there are also some real challenges to co-parenting. Here are some tips for maintaining an effective co-parenting arrangement after divorce–

Take Concerns Seriously

There’s a strong likelihood that at some point, both you and your ex-spouse will have concerns about something the other parent does in regards to your shared child. This is normal. In order to manage these concerns and any resolution responsibly and effectively, you both should commit to taking the other’s concerns seriously. There is nothing more frustrating than expressing a concern only to have it dismissed, especially if the concern involves your child. You can set the bar from the get-go by truly hearing what your ex is saying, and treating all concerns as if they were your own. 

Remember the Golden Rule

“Treat others as you want to be treated” isn’t just a mantra that is told to children to prevent against school-ground bullying; instead, it’s a philosophy by which you should live your life, and which can absolutely be applied to your relationship with your ex when co-parenting after divorce. If you treat your former spouse how you would want to be treated, you’ll likely act with a greater level of compassion, patience, and kindness than you would otherwise. All of these can be key for reaching agreements together and negotiating tough decisions. 

Manage Logistics

Your parenting plan should outline many of the logistics associated with co-parenting, such as where your child will stay and when, and how your child will be transported from one parent’s home to the other’s. However, all details may not be clear. The sooner that you can manage the logistics associated with co-parenting and reach an agreement with your ex, the easier things will be. 

Get Help with Your Emotions

One of the most challenging parts of co-parenting may be that you still have heavy emotions about the marriage and your divorce, which may prevent you from acting with the patience and level of composure that you’d prefer. If you’re having trouble managing your emotions, don’t be afraid to get help from a professional counselor or therapist.  

Put Your Child First 

Finally, remember that you decided on a co-parenting arrangement for the benefit of your child. As you navigate co-parenting after divorce, keep your child’s best interests at the forefront of your mind and priority list. Doing so will help you make decisions that are based on your child’s wellbeing, not your own emotions.

Reach Out to Heather Ward Law for Help

If you need help forming a parenting plan when seeking a divorce, or enforcing a parenting plan post-divorce, reach out to our Massachusetts divorce and family law attorney at Heather Ward Law. Call 617-903-8955 or send our office a message directly to get started.