Co-parenting refers to the division of time that you and your ex-spouse spend with your children following your divorce. Depending on your custody arrangement, it could be a nearly even split, or one parent could have sole physical custody while the other has visitation.
In either case, California law presumes that frequent and continuing contact with both parents is in your children’s interests. The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse offers some tips to help you co-parent successfully.
1. Avoid distractions during time with your children
Regardless of the amount of parenting time you have with your children, you can make the most of it by focusing your attention on them while they are with you. Avoid phone use except when absolutely necessary. To the extent possible, schedule other obligations for times when your children are not with you.
2. Maintain a consistent routine
It can be unsettling for children when their parents divorce. Knowing where they will be and what they will be doing from day to day and week to week helps you provide your children with a sense of security and stability. There are times when you may have to add flexibility to your co-parenting schedule, but try to keep these to a minimum.
3. Keep lines of communication open
In most cases, you will have to have a way of communicating effectively with your co-parent. Lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings, and your children may suffer as a result.
It is also important to maintain communication with your children. They may still be learning to cope with the divorce and need to ask questions or express feelings about the new normal. Make time when your children are with you for heart-to-heart talks.