Co-parenting with someone you are in a relationship with (an therapeutically like tp be around) can be difficult enough.  But when you separate from your partner co-parenting can be extremely difficult, especially with other issues such as divorce or child support mixed in to the conflict.

Here are some tips from our Raleigh divorce lawyer to implement regardless of what stage you are in co-parenting.

  • Be a United Front.
    1. You must always try to keep in mind that you and your ex are on the same team, at least when it comes to your children.  Remember that you have the same goals– to raise your children in happy healthy homes and to do everything possible to make them successful human beings.
  • Try and Set a Parenting Plan with Ground Rules.
    1. A common source of disputes between co-parents is that different houses have different rules. Having set guidelines for basic items such as bed times, screen time, what shows the child can watch, and curfews will help resolve a lot of arguments with your co-parent (and your child).
  • Communicate Cordially, Without Using the Children as Messengers.
    1. Some of the biggest issues my clients have with their co-parents is that messages are sent in through the children or having a he said/she said on what your custodial agreements were. I always advise to put things in writing, whether it is a text message or an email, this cuts out the middle man (or child in most cases) and leaves no question as to what was said (or not said).
  • Use a Effective Communication Tools
    1. Common tools I suggest to my co-parents are Google Calendars, Our Family Wizard, the Cozi App, Coparently, or AppClose. These can be downloaded on most smart phones and tablets, and are great communication tools!
  • Don’t Involve the Children in Parental Disputes.
    1. Don’t speak negatively about your co-parent in front of your children. This is self-explanatory, or at least it should be.  Just don’t do it.  It is also not helpful to interrogate your children when they come home from spending time with your co-parent.  If they want to tell you about their time that is one thing, but let it happen organically.
  • Set a Schedule and Stick to It.
    1. This helps your co-parent plan and allows you both to plan events for your children (and for some much needed “me time”).  Also, remember that things change, and you need to be flexible with the schedule you set.  There may be a time you need a deviation from the schedule as well.  You do not have to always agree to deviate from the schedule, but don’t automatically shut a request down.
  • Set Boundaries. It is important to make efforts to be a good parent, but it is also important to set boundaries.  This is important for your mental health and sometimes for your personal safety.
    1. If your ex has boundary issues related to language, controlling behavior, or physical violence, set boundaries and stick to them. If your ex cannot have a conversation without yelling, only communicate in writing. If your ex is following you or has committed acts of domestic violence, only meet in public and highly populated places.
    2. Safety, both physical and mental, should always be a top priority. The national nonprofit organization, Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence, has created a list of tips for co-parenting with your abuser here.