The Dos and Don'ts of Co-Parenting

Posted By Menduni Martindill, PLLC || 26-Feb-2013

When a mom and dad split, it's hard for the whole family. Especially the children. Co-parenting isn't easy, but parents can learn to work together after divorce to create a loving and stable family environment for their children. According to the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, "Children need and deserve the love, care, and support of both their parent." This is true, but high emotions, bitterness, and tension between parents can easily keep both parents from providing their children with the support and care that they deserve.

Why you should co-parent: Co-parenting happens when divorced parents work together to raise their children. According to the Texas Attorney General, co-parenting is a skill that can be cultivated through shared parenting classes, where divorced parents can listen to advice and guidance from people with similar experiences. Co-parenting is important because it helps children adjust to the multitude of changes that happen after a divorce. After a marriage relationship ends, it may be difficult to set aside bitterness, resentment, and anger towards your former partner. In fact, you might not have any interest in seeing them or speaking to them. According to the Attorney General's co-parenting guidebook, ex husbands and wives must learn to put aside their differences and keep their children first. Even though your marriage relationship is with your ex is over, your parenting relationship continues.

The first rule of co-parenting is keeping your children first. When it comes to co-parenting, it's important that both parents work to keep the best interest of the child in mind. Parents can avoid conflict by remembering to keep their children first – not themselves. After a divorce, you and your former spouse will still have disagreements. Even still, it's important to keep arguments to a minimum and to avoid fighting with each other in front of your kids. During an argument, you might be tempted to say hurtful or disrespectful things about your ex around your children. This is confusing for children and may damage their self-esteem. Children love both of their parents and don't like hearing bad things about either one; when one or both parents talk about the other behind his/her back, children may feel like they have to pick sides.

Why you should talk to your ex. Your kids need both parents to be actively involved in their lives. This is much easier when you and your ex are able to speak civilly with each other. If you and your former spouse don't speak with each other, your children might try to fool you about what goes on in their other home. For instance, they might pretend like the other parent lets them stay up later or use curse words. Communicating with your former spouse can help you create a more stable and consistent home environment. Even though your children live in two separate houses, you and your ex can work together to create a cohesive home environment. This will help you know what's happening in your children's lives – even when they don't live with you.

As divorce and family law attorneys, the Austin family lawyers at Menduni Martindill, PLLC are dedicated to helping families and individuals work through complicated issues related to divorce. At the firm, we handle a wide variety of case types. Our practice areas include child custody, alimony, child support, modifications, contested divorce, uncontested divorce, annulment, fathers' rights, grandparents' rights and parental relocation. If you need help with any legal issue related to family law, contact us today. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can begin looking out for your best interest and the wellbeing of your family.

Categories: Divorce
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