Another Guide to Co-Parenting
Co-parenting is the action of both parents being involved and present in their children’s daily lives even after a separation.
Planned accordingly, co-parenting can be a successful option for your family — no matter the reasons for your disunion.
The process of divorce does not end once the papers are signed and the agreement is finalized.
Life after divorce is just as crucial, especially when there are children involved.
Many ways to successfully co-parent, but there is no single formula or plan that works for all families.
It’s normal and healthy to wonder if co-parenting is a good idea for you and your family.
Co-parenting with a difficult ex-partner is manageable.
Your co-parenting schedule depends on your children’s needs as well as your own personal schedule.
Co-parenting can be a viable option for your family after a divorce. Forming a healthy parenting relationship with your ex-spouse will allow you to develop an effective and efficient parenting plan. However, in order for co-parenting to work for your situation, it is important that you and your ex-spouse are informed and prepared. This comprehensive guide will help you understand and implement common sense parenting into your life.
What exactly is co-parenting?
Co-parenting is the action of both parents being involved and present in their children’s daily lives even after a separation. When a divorce is resolved and planned accordingly, co-parenting can be a successful option for your family — no matter the reasons for your disunion. To understand co-parenting, it is first crucial to acknowledge that it is a method feasible only for divorces that do not entail dangerous and violent issues. If things such as domestic violence or substance abuse are prevalent behaviours, co-parenting is not a suitable nor an advised option. However, outside of these serious cases, co-parenting is an essential component to a well-planned divorce as it provides the ability for both parents to forge a healthy and strong relationship with their children, regardless of how their relationship with their spouse has changed.
The process of divorce does not end once the papers are signed and the agreement is finalized, divorce is a continuous process. In fact, life after divorce is just as crucial, especially when there are children involved. Of course, working with your ex-spouse after a divorce might sound like a difficult idea as it is understandable that you may have your differences when it comes to parenting. Regardless, co-parenting requires parents to work together separately in order to raise their children and meet their needs. Therefore, with careful planning and deep consideration of your children’s well-being, common sense parenting can be a workable and manageable option for you and your family.
What is the best way to co-parent?
If you have decided that co-parenting is a suitable option for your situation, then you may be wondering how to co-parent efficiently. While there are many ways to successfully co-parent, there is no single formula nor plan that works for all families. This is because the tasks, methods, and ways to co-parent depend on you and your ex-partner’s situation as well as your children’s needs. Some families may be separating when their kids are young, therefore co-parenting could involve different actions and schedules than when separating with children who are older. Additionally, your children could have very selective needs that require both parents to handle tasks or situations differently than suggested. Moreover, each parent might have different roles depending on the family’s situation which could heavily influence the way the family navigates co-parenting. Whatever the case may be, there are essential components that are beneficial to every situation.
Yet, it is important to understand that even with an equitable and well-planned divorce, the continuation of life after separation and the process of co-parenting may be difficult. This is because there is no way to guarantee an easy divorce nor an easy co-parenting journey. Nevertheless, by being consistent with your co-parenting skills and tasks, you will find that your joint parenting journey with your ex-spouse will be a rewarding experience for you and your children. Consistency allows for children to feel safe and secure with both parents regardless of the issues that you and your ex-spouse may have faced. Additionally, consistency reminds your children that your relationship with them has not changed as co-parenting allows you to be an active and involved parent who loves and cares for their child.
Is co-parenting a good idea?
It is perfectly normal and healthy to wonder if co-parenting is a good idea for you and your family. Even though common sense parenting centers around the needs of your children, it is also valid to consider your needs and feelings. If you really feel as though developing a co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse will not only affect your well-being but your children’s as well, make sure to discuss this with your lawyer during your separation process in order to come up with a different solution that will benefit you and your family’s best interest. Moreover, it is also valid to consider whether co-parenting will be a healthy and positive aspect for your children. However, the only way to come to a definite conclusion as to whether co-parenting is a good idea for your family is through open communication. This involves not only talking to your lawyer about your options but your ex-spouse as well. Additionally, it could be greatly beneficial to talk to your children in order to get a better understanding of their needs.
It is imperative to note that co-parenting is a feasible option for those willing to put in the effort and work needed to sustain and strengthen the bond with your children. Therefore, even if co-parenting may seem like a good idea for your situation, it is crucial to understand that it requires cooperation and continuous communication. If you feel as though you won’t be able to handle co-parenting or that your partner won’t be able to respect your co-parenting boundaries, you should relay those worries to your lawyer and ex-spouse in order to come up with an arrangement that is most suitable considering the circumstances. Regardless, co-parenting can be an applicable solution if it is beneficial to the overall needs of your family.
How do you co-parent with a difficult ex?
What happens when you have to co-parent with a difficult ex-spouse? You may tell yourself that common sense parenting will never work, or perhaps you might convince yourself that it will only harm your children’s needs. The truth is that co-parenting with a difficult ex-partner is manageable as careful and strategic parent planning will allow you to maximize and support your children’s needs while minimizing issues between you and your ex-spouse. Understanding that your relationship troubles between you and your ex-partner do not interfere with the overall relationship with your children is the first and most important step when working towards co-parenting with a difficult ex-spouse. If you encounter some sort of issue that only aggravates your already difficult relationship with your ex, it is important that you communicate that directly with your ex-spouse and not with, nor through, your children. You and your ex-spouse’s relationship is completely separate from your relationship with your children. Co-parenting is about understanding that boundary – and even with a difficult ex-partner – that boundary still needs to be established and respected.
Co-parenting with your ex-spouse after a lengthy and hard separation can seem impossible. However, understanding and prioritizing your children’s needs above your arduous relationship with your ex-spouse is crucial to successful co-parenting with a difficult ex-partner. Therefore, even if after fully understanding and accepting the requirements of co-parenting, you still feel as though forming a co-parenting relationship with your spouse is too difficult or too harmful, communicate that with your lawyer so you can come to a solution that favors the well-being of your children.
Co-parenting with a narcissist
Co-parenting in general requires a lot of effort, communication, and compromise. Therefore, when it comes to co-parenting with an ex-spouse who believes that they are deserving of everything without taking into consideration you or your children’s needs, a lot more must be considered. Co-parenting with a narcissistic ex-partner can be a strenuous and harmful process for your family if not thoughtfully planned and prepared for. Therefore, to successfully co-parent with a narcissist, it is important to factor in these measures and actions.
Setting detailed and specific boundaries is a vital first step when co-parenting with a narcissistic ex-partner. This should include boundaries of how and when to communicate, boundaries of when to see and how to interact with your children, and boundaries of what is acceptable co-parenting behavior as well as what is unacceptable co-parenting behavior. Once these boundaries are set, it is imperative that you consider whether you will need outside support or guidance. If you feel as though you would be more comfortable with court ordered co-parenting support that will help serve as a mediator or counsel, then make sure to research those options and discuss them with your lawyer, who will then help you deliver that information to your ex-spouse. Moreover, after considering outside support to help ensure that your co-parenting planning is implemented and respected, consider whether outside support for your children is necessary, such as therapy. It is crucial to mention that while co-parenting involves two ex-spouses working collaboratively to care and raise their children, additional resources and methods of support are totally acceptable and highly recommended when co-parenting with a narcissistic ex-spouse.
Common sense parenting websites
As mentioned previously, turning to additional resources throughout your co-parenting journey is recommended as support can help you feel more confident about your co-parenting skills. Some of the best outside resources with comprehensive information are actually free! There are so many websites and blogs dedicated to helping ex-couples navigate the co-parenting process along with divorce. Therefore, to help you get started in exploring those resources, here are a couple of websites that have great information pertaining to common sense parenting and divorce.
Cyber Parent is an amazing website with detailed content on parenting, relationships, and family. To help you better understand the process of co-parenting, read “How To Handle A Divorce With Children: Understanding The Process”. The article talks through divorcing with children and how to always ensure their best interest. Co-parenting is not the last step of your divorce; it is a step that needs to be talked about and implemented at the very beginning of your separation process. There are many more articles that can be found on Cyber Parent which can help you implement and understand co-parenting as a part of your divorce.
Our Family Wizard (OFW) is a great website and app that helps you manage and implement co-parenting into your family’s life. Communication, planning, and compromise can all be done through OFW, making it easier to follow your parenting schedules without any complications or issues. Moreover, the website contains information about OFW and how to successfully use it throughout your co-parenting journey. Furthermore, the website includes additional resources that will help you understand co-parenting more in-depth.
What is a good co-parenting schedule?
So, you’ve decided that co-parenting is a suitable and feasible option for you and your family. The next question is: what is a good common sense parenting schedule? As always, your co-parenting schedule depends on your children’s needs as well as your own personal schedule. You want to make sure that you’re never taking on more than you can handle, but you also have to take into account that making an extra effort to ensure a realistic and workable schedule is necessary. Many might think that having a 50/50 schedule is the only fair and well-planned co-parenting schedule. However, that is not the truth.
A good co-parenting schedule is one that can be consistent and respected. If you constantly find that you or your ex-spouse are having a difficult time implementing and following your co-parenting schedule, then you have to change it. 60/40 schedules work just as great as equally divided schedules because it ensures that each parent is going to be doing the appropriate amount of work and effort suitable for their schedules. Moreover, you may find that 70/30 schedules are more fitting for your family considering your children’s needs and circumstances. No matter the case, it is important to understand that there are a variety of manners in which your co-parenting schedule can work best. Just because your co-parenting schedule is divided differently instead of “equally” does not mean that you or your partner will not do the work necessary to successfully co-parent. Lastly, the most important thing to remember when creating a good co-parenting schedule is that the only thing that your co-parenting schedule dictates is how your children’s time will be divided between each parent – it does not dictate the quality of your relationship with your child.
As with every aspect of co-parenting, you really need to have a great understanding of your children’s needs to always ensure their best interest. Coming up with a detailed co-parenting plan which is mindful of your custody agreement and respectful of your children’s needs will allow you to set efficient co-parenting rules. By having a descriptive and comprehensive co-parenting schedule all responsibilities will be properly assigned and all children’s needs, including physical and emotional, will be met. In your co-parenting plan, it is imperative to include all your children’s activities. This includes educational, personal, and medical information. Once you have a clear schedule, it is important that you devise clear and specific parenting rules that each parent can implement and follow. For example, one rule could be that each parent is responsible for ensuring that their children go to bed at a decent hour when they are under their supervision. Developing general rules that either parent can implement when it is their time to care for and be with their children is essential to successful co-parenting.
Another rule, perhaps the most crucial, is establishing communication. Setting general guidelines of how and when to communicate with your ex-spouse concerning any co-parenting issues or decisions will help the process go by much smoother. It is imperative that clearly defined communication boundaries are established to ensure that any difficulties are properly discussed and worked out between you and your ex-spouse without the involvement of your children.
Lastly, the most important co-parenting rule is to simply follow what works best for you and your family. Co-parenting is different for everyone and that is part of the reason as to why it is so successful because it allows for all families – regardless of the circumstances – to continue to have a healthy child-parent relationships. Staying informed and working hard are all fantastic rules that will set your family on the right path towards a sustainable co-parenting experience.
Are you having trouble reaching an agreement on your finances? Do you want to avoid going before the judge and asking for help? Consider working with a family mediator who can help you end your marriage in a way that is peaceful, cost-effective, and child-focused.
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