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How can I make my co-parenting arrangement work?

Parenting is rarely easy, but when you must make important child-rearing decisions with your ex-spouse it can seem downright impossible. There are steps you can take to facilitate a smoother co-parenting relationship between you and your former partner, which benefits the whole family. Accordingly, Parents Magazine offers the following advice.

Choose your battles carefully

Divorce resentment is natural, but letting this resentment get the better of you can damage your family. For instance, arguing about every issue, no matter how insignificant, causes a lot of unnecessary strife with your ex. It can also impact your child’s relationship with both parents, as he or she is likely to internalize harsh words traded between you. Refrain from addressing every minor grievance and make an attempt to be civil when discussing important issues.

Don’t get stuck on even an even time split

You want to spend as time as possible with your kids, but this may not always be doable. For instance, if your former spouse lives closer to school it makes sense for the kids to stay there most nights during the week. Instead of focusing on the amount of time spent, ensure that all time spent with your children is of the highest possible quality. If you want to increase the number of visits, offer yourself up as a babysitter or help get the kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.

Take care of yourself

It can be tough coping with loneliness when your children are away. You can mitigate the loneliness by taking this time to work on yourself and pursue the things that make your happy. This may include hitting the gym, spending time with friends and family, or taking a day to pamper yourself. While you may feel the need to isolate yourself, doing so will only increase depression and sadness. When you’re happy and mentally healthy you’ll be a much better parent.