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Tips for effective co-parenting after a divorce

Raising children after a divorce is a fact of life for many parents in Tennessee. In many cases, co-parenting, an arrangement in which both parents take some responsibility in raising their children, is better for the children's well-being. Families who take this approach should understand how such an arrangement works best.

Co-parenting can foster healthy relationships between both parents and their children. However, it's important for the parents to communicate and keep their focus on the child's well-being. The Journal of Family Psychology stated in a 2011 review that supportive co-parenting after a divorce was strongly associated with a father's involvement. They also stated that co-parenting could reduce some of the negative effects of the breakup. In addition, the researchers reported that less conflict between parents could improve a child's behavior, performance in school and overall mental well-being.

It's also important to remember that a co-parenting arrangement doesn't require a child to spend a specific amount of time with each parent. Instead, the child must feel that they are supported and safe with both of their parents. Staying away from actions like complaining about an ex, using the child as a "bargaining chip" and using children to send messages to each other can sabotage the entire arrangement by taking attention away from the child.

In most circumstances, no matter how much a parent may dislike an ex, the happiness and well-being of the children is more important. This requires putting a couple's children before disagreements that may pop up and working together to make a parenting plan that works for each parent to give the children the support and stability that can help them through out their life. While parents work on crafting a healthy agreement, a family law attorney could help them amicably work out the legal aspects of a divorce settlement.

Source: Lancaster Online, "Learn to co-parent successfully after divorce", Kimberly Marselas, July 23, 2013

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