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Guidelines for successful co-parenting after divorce

Divorcing couples in Massachusetts typically face various hurdles during the process; decisions need to be made regarding division of assets, living arrangements and many other areas. However, for divorcing parents, the most important decisions to be made are likely those involving the children. After enduring the divorce process, most parents now need to learn how to co-parent their children, with the goal of providing a healthy, happy environment for all involved parties. To help ensure this outcome, parents can keep in mind a few key guidelines.

First and foremost, parents should always keep the best interests of the child in mind. Parents would be wise to remember that the other parent, no matter his or her faults, is still important in the eyes of the child. As well, when a parent begins to date again, it is best to avoid introductions until the relationship becomes serious, as children can become attached quite easily. If the relationship does not continue, disconnection may be difficult.

Parents can also keep in mind that communication and honesty are other key factors in successful co-parenting. Since children may become confused about details such as transition plans or schedules for various school days, holidays, etc., to avoid frustrating situations and misunderstandings, parents can provide a calendar in each home to allow all parties access to important information. Also, children will likely ask questions about why their parents are no longer together. It is best for parents to answer honestly and simply, without assigning blame, while assuring the child the divorce is not their fault.

Parents who share parenting responsibilities will, inevitably, need to interact to some degree, whether to discuss parenting issues or to attend important life events such as graduations and weddings. To make these moments as pleasant and productive as possible, parents can think of it as a business meeting. This way, professional, polite behavior will prevail.

Parenting in any context can be tricky, and divorced parents who share this responsibility face particular challenges that may be difficult to navigate at times. Most parents simply want a safe and happy environment in which their children can thrive post-divorce. If both parents keep these guidelines in mind, they can reach this goal and enjoy a successful co-parenting situation. An attorney specializing in family law can help Massachusetts parents make informed decisions during the divorce process, including decisions involving children.

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