How to co-parent effectively with your former spouse

While sharing custody of their children, there are several things divorced parents should do and several things they should avoid doing.

After parents in Tennessee divorce, many are awarded joint custody of their children. In these child custody arrangements, according to the American Bar Association, parents may be able to spend substantial amounts of time with their children as well as make major decisions about them. Although co-parenting is often beneficial for children after the conclusion of a contentious divorce, there are several things parents should and shouldn't do to ensure the success of the arrangement.

What to do

When parents share child custody of their children, they should make open communication with their ex-spouse a priority, states Psychology Today. However, parents should keep in mind that they don't have to meet with their spouse in-person to discuss their children, but can instead use electronic forms of communication, like texting and email, to stay in touch. While co-parenting, divorced parents should also:

  • Maintain a consistent schedule at both households - sticking to a similar schedule at both households can provide children of divorced parents with much-needed security. While they share custody, parents should set and implement specific rules and guidelines for completing homework, bed time, discipline and other parenting issues.
  • Commit to speaking positively - parents should prohibit their children from speaking negatively about their former spouse.
  • Create an extended family plan - together, parents should come to an agreement on the role extended family members will play in their children's lives.

Additionally, parents should keep in mind that although co-parenting can be beneficial, it can also be challenging. When making arrangements for their children, parents should tailor them to the needs of their children instead of their own personal needs.

What to avoid

While co-parenting with their former spouse, Psychology Today states that parents should refrain from burdening their children with emotional issues. This means that parents should never use their children as a source to find out information about their ex-spouse and should never try and sabotage the relationship their children have with their former partner.

Parents should also avoid spoiling their children when they are under their care. If this ends up happening, parents may have a hard time enforcing household rules and may cause their children to develop negative behavior patterns that make parenting difficult for their former spouse.

Consult with an attorney

Once Tennessee parents decide to end their marriage, they may desire to develop a co-parenting plan, but still have concerns about managing it once their divorce is finalized. If you have similar concerns, reach out to an attorney to determine what you can do to protect the best interests of your children.

Keywords: divorce, child, custody