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Helpful Tips for Successful Co-Parenting After Your Divorce

Published June 15, 2020
Going through a divorce can be difficult, especially when you share children. By adopting helpful strategies, such as carving out quality parenting time and keeping your communication with ex constructive, your new family dynamic will provide the support you all crave.

As you navigate each step of the divorce process, emotions and apprehensions are bound to surface. If you are a parent, then you are not only dealing with the ending of your marriage—you are also worried about how your divorce will affect your child. Fortunately, there are many small practices that you can put into place that will support your efforts to make this transition as smooth as possible for your child. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are not on friendly terms, there are strategies for minimizing tension between you two while continuing to support your child’s best interests. Let’s examine a few concrete tips for making the co-parenting process smoother for you and your children following your divorce.

Put the Needs of Your Child First

If you are pursuing a divorce, it’s likely that you and your ex-partner are ready to move on and build separate futures. Many divorcing couples tend to envision their new individual futures as just that—free from the obligation to continue having a relationship with their ex. However, when there are children involved and both partners wish to enjoy a fulfilling parental relationship with the children, simply walking away from your spouse forever is not truly possible. Remember, as much as you are angry with your ex, they are still your child’s parent. Save your rants about your ex and your negative comments for your close friends, family, or therapist, and avoid disparaging your ex in front of your children. In some cases, a child whose parent continually makes negative comments about the other parent can internalize these criticisms and begin to believe they are also to blame for the divorce. Don’t inadvertently alienate your child—put your feelings about your ex aside and focus on how you can best support your child during this emotional time.

Maintain Consistent Communication With Your Ex

Although no one is expecting you to forge a close friendship with your ex after your divorce is finalized, you still should attempt to check in with each other about your child’s schedule and routine. If you share custody, it’s important to make sure both parents know about any sports practices or field trips so that the child will be able to continue to participate in these activities. The more divorcing parents can help the child to maintain a consistent schedule, the smoother the transition tends to be for the child. Additionally, you and your ex should discuss your discipline and parenting philosophies so that you can provide consistent and stable guidance to your child, regardless of which child the child is residing from week to week. This consistent approach will send a supportive message to your child, illustrating just how much you and your ex are prioritizing your child’s well-being.

Carve Out Some Mindful Parenting Time

It’s helpful for both you and your child’s other parent to make deliberate efforts to spend quality time with your child. While going through a divorce and adjusting to your new reality can be overwhelming, you should remember that your child is also going through their own transition. The more you can check in with your child and let them feel heard, the more comforted they will be. Take a walk, grab an ice-cream cone, read a book together, or find another shared activity that you enjoy. Encourage your ex to make similar efforts to connect with your kid when they are in their care. Although you may not be spending traditional “family” time together, you will be enjoying valuable parenting time that allows your child to feel loved, soothed, and supported in this new familial arrangement.


For more information about divorce, custody, or parenting plan arrangements in the Portland or Vancouver area, contact the knowledgeable and compassionate legal team at Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. by calling (503) 233-8868 today.

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