Divorced couples who share co-parenting duties may struggle to maintain a healthy, productive dynamic and keep focus on the kids. In Pennsylvania, courts determine child custody based on a child’s best interest. This means that if you and a former spouse share legal and/or physical custody of the children, a productive partnership is necessary to prioritize the happiness and wellbeing of the kids.
For co-parents who struggle to maintain civility even in basic conversations, shared parenting duties can seem like insurmountable challenges. Despite the complications of your past relationship, parents need to set aside their own difficulties in favor of maintaining cooperation in co-parenting. To do so, consider some advice to keep focused on the task at hand.
Make a plan as soon as possible
Effective co-parenting relies on a stable, comprehensive parenting plan. A mistake many parents make is to take on challenges as they come as opposed to planning ahead for these potential scenarios. Life may bring any number of surprises, but there are plenty of instances parents can plan for at the start of a shared custody arrangement.
Decide who handles school drop-off and pick-up on each day. Make a plan for a child’s activities and who will attend or participate in each. Plot out how you’ll address shared parenting responsibilities with your child’s teacher and the parents of your child’s friends. Co-parents can plan ahead for these and other normal occurrences in life so there’s a basic roadmap for what’s to come.
It’s important that parents maintain a level of consistency between two households after a divorce. Children benefit from steadiness, meaning if one house has certain rules and the other doesn’t it can prove disorienting for kids of all ages. Children benefit from understanding their surroundings and feeling a sense of predictability and normalcy as much as possible in various aspects of their lives.
Utilize civil, open communication
For co-parents who struggle with maintain civil discourse, there are tools to assist with focusing the conversation on productive means. Using a shared calendar or apps such as Our Family Wizard and 2House make it possible for co-parents to keep up-to-date with a child’s needs without relying on only verbal or textual conversations.
Using technological resources can help parents stay focused on the child’s needs without pulling in other potentially tense topics. The most important thing between you and you co-parent is your child. Keep the focus on their wellbeing, not outside drama and other problems.
Navigating a shared custody arrangement can be difficult for any former couple. Consult with family law and counseling experts for assistance in handling shared parental responsibilities. It’s in your child’s best interest to maintain civility between co-parents, so utilize the help and resources available to do so.