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Top 6 Tips for Co-Parenting

Ending a marriage does not mean ending your role in raising a child. Divorce is often a traumatic experience for a child. There is significant disruption to the child’s routine and sense of security. It is therefore incumbent on both parents to work together as much as possible to co-parent their child following a divorce or separation.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to co-parenting, here are a few basic tips to keep in mind as you navigate your new roles as co-parents living separate and apart.

1. Communicate Effectively

Even if you were never on the same page while you were married, you need to try and be on the same page when it comes to co-parenting after divorce. This means taking steps to communicate effectively with your ex. Make sure you are open and honest with your co-parent about any issues that may arise, such as scheduling or rules affecting your child. Many co-parents benefit from using technology, such as a co-parenting app on their smartphone, to help keep track of any issues that arise. And if you are having difficulty effectively communicating, you should consider seeking out help from a mediator or San Antonio family law attorney who can help both of you get back on track.

2. Be Consistent

From a child’s perspective, their parents’ divorce feels like chaos. The child must adjust to being shuttled between parents, living in two different homes that are possibly in different cities, and struggling to regain some sense of normalcy. One of the best ways co-parents can help their child with this transition is to be consistent. This includes establishing consistent routines for your child when they are in either household. You and your ex should therefore coordinate on basic daily schedules like mealtimes, bedtimes, and extracurricular activities. You should also be consistent when it comes to setting and enforcing rules, rewards, and discipline for the child. The last thing that you should do is create an expectation that one parent is more “lenient” or “strict” than the other.

3. Set Boundaries

Your child is not a proper conduit for addressing or resolving problems you have with the other co-parent. Both of you need to be firm in establishing boundaries with respect to the child’s privacy and personal space. Among other things, this means respecting each co-parent’s right to spend time with the child. Never threaten to withhold access to the child because you are mad at the other co-parent.

4. Prioritize Your Children’s Needs

In Texas, courts must focus on the “best interest of the child” when it comes to determining matters affecting custody, visitation, and child support. As co-parents, you should adhere to the same standard. You both need to place your child’s emotional, physical, and psychological needs first. Again, this means not using your child as a dumping ground for any issues you are having with your co-parent. To the contrary, you should always encourage your child to have a healthy and functional relationship with the other co-parent. In particular, you should try to avoid speaking negatively about the other parent to the child or in the child’s presence.

5. Be Flexible and Willing to Compromise

While consistency is crucial to a child’s well-being in a co-parenting situation, it is also important not to be rigid and inflexible when it comes to scheduling. Life does not always respect our predetermined schedules. If something like a co-parent’s job or the child’s extracurricular activities require a change in your schedule, you need to be flexible and open to modifications. Do not allow the “letter of the law” to create unnecessary friction between you, your co-parent, and your child.

6. Resolve Conflicts Constructively

There is no such thing as a divorce or co-parenting situation free of all conflict. In any co-parenting relationship there is bound to be some disagreements or conflict. Your goal should not be to avoid conflict. Rather, it should be to look for ways to constructively resolve conflicts when they inevitably arise.

As with anything affecting the happiness and well-being of your child, you and your co-parent should strive to find common ground whenever possible. If you are having difficulty reaching agreement, however, you should not hesitate to seek professional help. In many cases, a family therapist or a trained mediator can help you in improving communication with your co-parent. Do not feel ashamed to ask for help. It is far better than allowing a conflict to build up to the point where either of you do something you will regret.

Contact a San Antonio Family Law Attorney Today

Nobody ever said that raising a child after divorce would be easy. But there are steps you can take to address and deal with problems as they arise in a co-parenting situation. If you require legal advice or assistance from an experienced San Antonio family law attorney, call The Law Office of David J. Rodriguez, PLLC, today at (210) 716-0726 or contact us online.