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Tips for successful co-parenting after a divorce

Virginia parents who are going through a divorce might worry about how it will affect their children. Maintaining a functional co-parenting relationship is possible, but it requires the parties to try to work together.

Birthdays and holidays can be tough for children. Instead of having them go to two different events, one for each parent, parents may want to consider simply having one where they are together. One advantage is that this prepares parents to be together at events that will only happen once, such as weddings. However, even if parents are not yet ready for this level of togetherness, they can try to support the child's relationship with the other parent. This includes listening when the child has issues with the other parent and helping the child with the relationship in the same way the parent would with another family member. Children must never be made to feel as though they have to choose between their parents.

Children need reassurance that both their parents love them and that they are not the reason for the divorce. One reason parents may have divorced in the first place is because they agree on very little, but it can help children adjust if their parents can agree to the same set of rules in both households.

Working together can begin during the divorce process. Focusing on the best interests of the child, parents may be able to reach an agreement about child custody and support without having to go to court although they can also build a healthy co-parenting relationship after litigation. In the parenting plan, they can address any concerns they have about such details as when the child will meet a parent's new partner or which parent is responsible for taking the child to certain extracurricular activities.

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