When couples go through a separation or divorce, children are often the most challenging part of the process — and for good reason. Although the family dynamic is going through a definitive change, you’re still both parents. You want this change to be as positive and uplifting as possible for your kids. At the same time, you have a personal and emotional need to be in your children’s lives, and you don’t want to see yourself “short-changed” in that respect.
Over the long-term, it’s always desirable to find a custody-sharing arrangement in which both parents play a constructive role — and tension is kept to a minimum. There are, of course, cases in which this ideal cannot be reached. But it’s important to know that with the right perspective and guidance, things can turn out much better than expected.
The reality is, around half of all first marriages and three quarters of all second marriages end in divorce. This may not be the most uplifting statistic, but the fact is, many separations result in excellent co-parenting arrangements that keep the children’s wellbeing at the center of the picture.
What separates excellent co-parenting arrangements from the rest?
The problem with so many divorces and separations is that tensions do run high. The history of a relationship, going back to before children came into the picture, runs deep. There may be emotional or financial conflicts that make it difficult to talk about how your parenting will look in the future. It can also be easy to think that maximizing your own time with the children, while minimizing the time they spend with your ex-partner, is best for the children themselves.
Is it possible that you’re right? Sure. But is it more likely that a constructive co-parenting agreement will increase your child’s emotional, mental and physical health in the long term? Most counseling and mediation professionals say yes.
A comprehensive discussion
What many people don’t realize is that discussions around co-parenting need to be as detailed and as comprehensive as possible, covering all of the following areas:
- Parenting and/or visitation schedules
- How the child’s education will be effect
- Geographical concerns and stipulations
- Medical considerations
- What holidays and special occasions will look like
- The financial side of co-parenting
- How important parenting decisions will be made
The list of considerations goes on. How might your (or your former partner’s) parenting style change over time? Is there a healthy understanding of requirements and necessities (e.g. medications), and how these differ from parenting styles? What happens when new mates come into the picture for one or both parents? Is there a realistic way to chart a course through all of these variables, to arrive at the best long-term solution for your kids?
Custody and Parenting Time Consultation Services
Co-parenting after a separation or divorce is both challenging and critical. When you take a bird’s eye view of the changes your family unit is going through, co-parenting arrangements have the deepest impact on children. Parents often find that seeking advice from a qualified co-parenting counselor helps ensure the most constructive solution is understood and agreed-upon — with the shared goal of maximum wellbeing for all children involved, as well as both parents.