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What does a good co-parenting relationship look like?

45613925_S.jpgA divorce might be the end of a marriage, but it is rarely the end of the relationship. Many divorced spouses in Oklahoma have children together. Therefore, they must continue to work together to raise their children even after their divorce.

Learning to co-parent with an ex-spouse can be a significant challenge. It requires both parents to strike a balance. Each relationship will look different, but here are a few common indicators of a healthy co-parenting relationship:

You have a working schedule, but you are both flexible

Almost every divorced couple is required to create a custody agreement and parenting plan. These plans include:

  • How parents should approach decision-making on their child's behalf
  • A detailed schedule of parenting time and custody
  • A method for how parents will approach custody on holidays
  • Other stipulations parents may want to include

Co-parents who work together make the time to ensure that their schedule works and meets their family's needs. However, they are also flexible if that schedule needs to change, such as if one parent gets a new job that could change their parenting time.

You communicate regularly, but you have boundaries too

Successful co-parenting requires communication. It is critical for parents to update each other about things regarding their children. These updates can be about things as small as how the children are feeling, or as big as planning a vacation with the children.

However, it is also important that parents respect each other's boundaries. It is helpful to establish specific rules for communication and also respect each parent's time with the children.

You respect each other

Building off of the fact that parents should respect each other's boundaries, they should also respect each other as parents. This is a key factor of healthy co-parenting.

Manipulating someone's emotions, badmouthing an ex-spouse or doing things that will hurt the other parent on purpose does not help improve the relationship between co-parents or parents and their children.

You put your children first

The most fundamental sign and aspect of healthy co-parenting is when parents put their differences and emotions aside and put their children's best interests first. This often involves things like:

  • Parents having the same rules to maintain consistency and stability for children between homes
  • Parents making an effort to attend important events together, such as a child's band concert or sports game

Co-parenting after divorce may not always be easy, but it is possible if parents establish rules of respect and prioritize their children's needs.

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