The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension has published a helpful fact sheet regarding how parents should continue parenting their children. After the divorce, parents are no longer spouses, but they are still parents and they must work together for the benefit of their children. The Cooperative Extension defined co-parenting as both parents playing an active part in the child’s life, but in order for this to be successful, the parents have to function together.
Every divorce is different. Regardless, it may be helpful to speak with other parents who are divorced and see what they are doing. Then the parents must talk with each other and try to decide on an arrangement that works best for each of them and for the children. This strategy is not recommended for those situations in which abuse has been a major factor.
There have been numerous studies that have shown the benefits of co-parenting on the children. The children can continue healthy relationships with both parents. They feel more stable and secure. They will be less likely to feel torn between both parents, which can put a tremendous strain on the child.
Co-parenting includes deciding which aspects of the parenting will be shared by which parent. This depends on the answers to several questions, which the Cooperative Extension lists in its factsheet.
- What decisions will need to be made?
- How will the decisions be made?
- How and when will you take to the other spouse?
- How will you arrange and share schedules?
- Who will manage childcare when neither parent is available?
- How will you manage discipline?
- What happens in an emergency?
The fact sheet also suggests making a parenting plan where the parents sit down and decide how the children will be raised. If you find yourself in the midst of a divorce and you want to ensure that you and the your spouse are co-parenting effectively, you may want to discuss your case with a South Carolina family law attorney.
Source: “Co-Parenting after Divorce,” published by University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.
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