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The Basics of Co-Parenting

The Basics of Co-Parenting

Divorce often brings out the worst in parents. It can be difficult to stay calm during disagreements, and remember that your actions and decisions affect your child. The best interest of the child should be the top priority at all times as you and your ex co-parent. If you aren’t sure what co-parenting is and how to go about it, consider the basics of co-parenting outlined below.

Making Co-Parenting Work Without Conflict:

  • Sit down and make a plan with your ex. Set aside your differences and focus on discussing how you can both focus on the needs of your child/children.
  • Agree not to speak negatively of your ex in front of the children.
  • Talk about/negotiate how drop-offs/pickups should be handled and take into consideration the age and awareness of your children.
  • Discuss how you plan to handle certain situations so that the child can have consistency; agree on certain punishments/rewards for behavior that can be consistent between parents.
  • Keep each other up to date regarding life changes: a new home, a new partner, etc. Communication is vital in co-parenting. It will prevent the child from becoming the primary source of information on the “other” parent. Never use your child to relay info to the other parent.
  • Focus your efforts on the needs of your children.

If you remember the above basics of co-parenting as you attempt to maneuver the waters of parenting with an ex, you will have a better chance at success. In too many instances, one parent or the other will inadvertently (or even purposefully) make co-parenting almost impossible. It doesn't take a lot to throw the tenuous balance off. Damage to the co-parenting relationship and the child can be done very quickly.

Be careful never to attempt to ruin the relationship your child has with your ex or to use your child as a pawn to get back at them. Do not use your child as a means of gaining information about your ex’s life. Do not demand that your child “choose a side” when a conflict arises. Do not burden your children with situations that they cannot control or make them feel guilty if they express a desire to spend more time with their other parent or do a specific activity with them.

Child custody and parenting time cases are fraught with emotion. They are stressful and legal representation is very important to make sure that your proceedings result in a parenting time and legal decision-making order that reflects the needs of your children. Contact Arizona Family Law Attorneys for expert representation in Arizona family law.
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