Making co-parenting work when a marriage ends

Once a marriage is over, it's time for Wisconsin couples with children to shift their focus to making co-parenting work. Such arrangements may be more effective if divorced parents remember to put their children's best interests front and center. Even in instances where one parent views his or her ex as untrustworthy, incompetent or unreasonable, results tend to be better if both parties make an effort to politely interact and let children naturally discover parental flaws.

Acting like an adult during co-parenting after a divorce also means that parents are advised to be honest about the reasons for the split in a way that's appropriate for a child. Keeping basic household rules the same often creates a sense of consistency and clarity for children as can using an annual calendar to keep track of scheduled visits, holidays, vacations and other important dates.

For times when there is the risk of conflict during communications between parents, it may be helpful for them to use online tools, emails or text messages to share nonemergency information or confirm arrangements. It's also not healthy or productive for parents to use their children to send messages back and forth or to prevent them from feeling free to talk about what they did during visits. When one or both parents begins to date, the general recommendation is to exercise caution when it comes to introducing new people to children too soon. Parents are also advised to be cautious about discussing the possibility of getting back together.

If more serious issues develop between exes when it comes to co-parenting, a child custody and support attorney might suggest modifying existing arrangements. Additional legal steps may be necessary if the main issue is a failure to make court-ordered support payments. A lawyer may also be consulted if a parent has to change arrangements because of relocation, a change in work schedule or similar circumstances.

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Gagne McChrystal De Lorenzo & Burghardt
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