How it works
Divorced or separated parents engage in co-parenting when they cooperate on raising their children instead of acting as independent parties. Compromise and respect are needed for success.
Parents work together on big and substantive decisions concerning their children such as visitation, education, and health. But they may act independently on small and everyday matters.
Each parent should begin their co-parenting talks under the assumption that the other parent also has the child's best interest as their priority. When parents become angry, they should temporarily stop their conversation.
Parents should also consider their strengths while coming up with a plan. For example, a parent who is a teacher could make the final decision on the child's school. Or a parent who enjoys athletics may decide the child's extracurricular activities.
Parents should make plans when they are calm, willing to compromise and when they are in a frame of mind to have this conversation
Children should not participate in co-parenting discussions even though their input may be sought on certain decisions at another time. It is inappropriate for children to listen to parents negotiate over the time spent with them.
Children and messaging
Parents often face the same problems with co-parenting that they had in their marriage. Failure to communicate can have the same harm on co-parenting as it did on their marriage. Good communications and a willingness to solve problems helps the children's well-being and is essential for co-parenting planning.
Parents should not use their children to transmit messages to the other parent. The substance of the communication may be lost in transmission. This also causes stress for the child and sets a bad example.
An attorney can help seek a child custody order that is fair and reasonable and in the child's best interest. They may also help assure compliance with these orders.