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How to successfully co-parent after divorce

Texas couples divorce because they no longer wish to spend their lives with each other. However, parents can't simply sign divorce papers and expect to never speak with their ex again. Instead, they must learn to co-parent together for the sake of their child. There are some steps parents can take to help the process go more smoothly.

First of all, parents should always act out of their child's best interests. This means that they should never put down their ex in front of their child or try to use the child to get back at their former spouse. These behaviors only harm the child. Second, parents should establish the same rules for both households. This helps give a child a sense of stability and consistency. Third, parents need to effectively communicate with each other about their child's needs and schedule. This can be done by creating an annual calendar and sending messages via an online co-parenting messaging system.

Separation and divorce can also create challenges within a parent's relationship with their child. For instance, many children want their parents to get back together. Experts say that it is best not to give kids false hope by telling them it's a possibility. Even if a couple is trying to reconcile, children shouldn't be told until the reconciliation is complete. Experts say that parents should also be honest with their children during the divorce process. If a child asks why the divorce is happening, parents should answer the question in a simple, age-appropriate way. They should also reassure the child that the split has nothing to do with him or her.

Parents facing divorce may benefit from working with a family law attorney. The attorney may be able to help negotiate child custody and child support agreements that are in the best interests of the child.

Source: Psych Central, "10 Essentials of Co-Parenting After a Divorce," Christine Hammond, July 6, 2018

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