An Overview of Co-Parenting
The term “co-parenting” refers to a parenting practice where two parents work with one another in order to raise a child when they are divorced or legally separated and no longer living together. An example would be a divorced father and mother who are raising their child/children by sharing both their legal and physical custody. In the process, the parents would maintain an equal or shared responsibility in the child’s or children’s upbringing.
Occasionally referred to as “partnered parenting” or “parenting partnerships”, elective co-parenting is a choice made by individuals who want to have children, but do not want a relationship, married or otherwise. This type of arrangement is common in the gay and lesbian community.
Based on specific issues, post-separation co-parenting can be a difficult proposition for both children and their parents. Both parents need to be responsible for discipline and filling their child/children’s lives with activities to do.
Reassuring Your Child/Children
It’s a given that divorce or legal separation can be extremely stressful for the parties involved. However, for the child/children, it can be even more difficult to cope with. It’s not uncommon for them to blame themselves. We cannot overstate the importance of letting your child or children know that:
- both of you will always love them unconditionally
- they didn’t do anything wrong
- they weren’t the cause of the divorce
Being a divorced parent is completely different from being a married one. For one, you won’t be able to see your child/children as much if you’re the non-custodial parent. As a family law firm with years of combined expertise in this area, we can tell you that the best course of action to mitigate stress for your child is for you and your spouse to get along amicably, even if you don’t see eye-to-eye. Your children still need you.
Helpful Co-Parenting Tips
We established the Strong Family Law years ago. Since inception, we have learned a great deal about co-parenting. More importantly, we have seen how legal separation, divorce, or a dissolution of a domestic partnership can have a negative impact on children. In our experience, we have found that these helpful tips improve the co-parenting experience:
- Avoid disparaging remarks in front of your children – going through a divorce, it can be very tempting to speak negatively of or make disparaging remarks about the other parent in front of your own child/children. Not only is this harmful to your child’s psyche, it can damage how they see and understand, relationships, their own identity, and life as it is.
- Don’t involve your child/children in the litigation – the court oftentimes orders the parents against doing this. The mind of a child is full of wonder and is incapable of processing arguments or disagreements between his or her parents. Don’t taint their minds by involving them in your drama. Furthermore, the Strong Family Law firm strongly advises you not to bring your child/children into court with you.
- Love your child/children unconditionally – children can see the imperfections in a relationship or marriage. And that’s okay. However, you can create an environment for your child or children that is filled with love.
If you have recently filed for a legal separation or gotten a divorce and need our advice on any co-parenting issues you’re having, please contact the Strong Family Law.