How to Effectively Co-Parent At the Beginning of a Divorce

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Unhappy family and child custody battle concept sketched on sticky note paper

When parents divorce, there can be a significant impact on the children.  For divorces involving children, some judges have referred to such a divorce as a corporate reshuffling, and say that the family corporation remains the same, but has undergone some reshuffling.  That is to say, the family unit continues to exist, but in a slightly different format.  From the moment parents decide to divorce, they have to realize that although they may no longer be a couple, they will always be co-parents.  For this reason, parents have to continue to co-parent their children, regardless of the divorce.  To effectively co-parent, parents should follow these tips below:

  1. Show a United Front to the Children. From the time you tell your children that you are divorcing, all through the divorce, parents should be a united front for their children.  They should agree when and how to tell the children that they are divorcing, and continue to communicate regarding their children’s daily lives and activities.  Although there may be some friction between the parents about the divorce, they need to continue to be a united unit to co-parent for the children’s sake.
  1. Don’t Disparage the Other Parent. No matter how much a parent may dislike their soon-to-be ex-spouse during a divorce, they remain co-parents.  As such, they should never disparage the parent to or in front of the children, or attempt to alienate the children from that parent.
  1. Don’t Put the Children in the Middle. Judges hate when parents use the children as a method of communication to the other parent, or start talking to the children about the “adult” conversation, such as what is happening in the legal proceedings relative to the divorce.  Although the children are living this situation just as much as the parents, they should never be put in the middle of it.  Most importantly, they should never feel as if they are being forced to choose a specific parent over the other.
  1. Be Civil. No matter how ugly things may get in court, be civil to the other parent, particularly when the children are present.  Being civil and respectful can go a long way in helping children through a divorce.

This list is by no means exhaustive.  Each family is different and needs to follow their own guidelines to fit  their needs, but these are some of the most basic rules that parents should follow from the outset of a divorce to help children through this difficult time.

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