No two individuals get married and start a family, thinking they will someday separate. Unfortunately, sometimes marriages and partnerships simply fail, and when children are involved, it is up to the adults in the room to the step up to the plate. Adults, not children, have the responsibility of ensuring that parenting remains a seamless effort between two individuals to ensure that the best interests of the children, both mental and physical, are met. Here are some helpful tips on how to co-parenting successfully with your partner.
Ensure Both Parents Adhere to a Custody/Parenting Plan
Custody agreements, or parenting plans, help set an established timeframe for the children to spend with each individual parent. When this is ignored or misused to favor one, there is a proper and improper way to act. If one parent is not adhering to the deal, the other can file for contempt in a court of law with evidence of the plan's misuse. Regardless of the avenue, it is important for parents to work it out together without involving the children into a family fight. Psychology Today points out many Do's and Don'ts of Co-Parenting, and among them is avoiding burdening your child and accusing the other parent of wrongdoing. Settle disputes amicably amongst yourselves, without involving the kids.
Change Plans when Required
For one reason or another, custody and child support can change as time goes by. If time sharing between the two parents change, it may be time to re-evaluate child support, changing hands to ensure that it is financially fair to the individual paying out those funds. To keep track, consider how much time each parent needs and how much they have available to give to the children. If things change with time, be sure to go back and reassess that situation to ensure that child support payments remain balanced and fair. Remember, child support is not a punishment for the parent paying, but rather a means of ensuring both parents have the ability to meet the financial needs involved with supporting children.
Don't Ignore the Holidays
One of the most difficult time of year for separated parents coping with custody issues, is over the holiday season. Individual parents come from different backgrounds with different traditions, and while these may have meshed during a marriage, finding a way of equitably splitting time for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other celebrations can be tough.
Discussions surrounding child custody at the holiday season eclipses any parenting plan or time-sharing plan already in place. It is the responsibility of the parents to discuss in advance how the holidays should be split. Some opt to have a set schedule every year, such as Thanksgiving with dad and Christmas with mom. Others will choose to alternate each year, so that dad gets Thanksgiving this year and Christmas next year, and vice versa for mom. Whatever you choose, it is important to remain consistent in the application of child custody during the holiday season.
These tips are meant to help you get a head-start on co-parenting successfully with your child/children's other parent. Remember to always remain respectful and polite in conversation with the other parent as this helps to facilitate a more businesslike, successful partnership.