No one ever said that co-parenting would be easy, but the benefits for the parents and the children are immeasurable. For one, psychological research shows that children benefit from regular and frequent contact with both parents. Secondly, parents can benefit from dividing the burdens of single parenthood between themselves and the other spouse half of the time.
That said, co-parenting works best when you and the other parent can come to swift and easy agreement on important matters of child rearing. The more things you and the co-parent of your child can get clear about during your divorce, the better job you'll do of keeping the peace.
Getting clear about communication and conflict resolution
A parenting provision related to communication and conflict resolution will help you clarify a how you will resolve arguments if they develop.
Here is what you may want to include in such a parenting provision, which will be incorporated into your child custody agreement and parenting plan:
- How the parents will communicate. Will it be in person, via the home or work phone, via cell phone, via text, email or another method?
- The parents will not communicate through their child.
- Parents will not talk about the child in front of the child.
- The parents will not argue or engage in heated discussions within earshot of the child.
- If parents can't agree, court authorization will be required to change the name of the child, get a driver's license or passport for the child, or give consent for an underage marriage or an underage enlistment into the armed services.
- If any disputes cannot be resolved between the parents, they will seek the assistance of a mediator. Parents will share the costs associated with mediation.
Commit yourself to a peaceful relationship with the other parent
When you and the other parent commit yourselves to peaceful communication and a respectful co-parenting relationship, it will greatly support your child's development and future in a positive way. As such, when drafting your parenting plan and child custody agreements, remember to get clear about how you and the other parent will handle all forms of communication and conflict resolution.