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Cooperation is critical to successful co-parenting after divorce

Anyone in the Montgomery area who has been through or seen divorce firsthand knows that it can be extremely hard on children. They usually do not understand what led to the marital breakup, and sometimes blame themselves or feel they have to take sides.

For these reasons, parents need to plan for and cooperate on how they will care for and raise their children after divorce. Much of this can be started during child custody negotiations or agreements, especially when both parents want to be custodial parents, but have different ideas about how they want to raise their children.

Keeping in mind the best interests of their children, parents can cooperate in various ways to keep arguments and disagreements to a minimum, and create two positive environments for their children:

•· Both spouses can work together to create a calendar that includes arrangements for birthdays, holidays and other occasions. To make it effective, they must stick to the plan as much as possible.

•· Parents also should avoid interrogating each other about how they spend time with the children because it frequently fuels an argument.

•· It is also better if parents do not bad-mouth their former spouses in front of the children. Too often, it makes children uncomfortable and feel like they must choose between parents or take sides.

•· Using email to share pictures of children enjoying their time with the other parent may also lessen conflict, and show both parents that the children are equally happy in both homes.

•· Finally, maintaining a civil relationship in front of the children, showing respect and consideration can lessen the children's stress and demonstrate that they are loved and valued.

The arguments and disagreements that often occur during divorce may seem familiar and routine to parents, but they should remember how much these can affect children.

Source: The Huffington Post, "No More Ex Games," Lois Tarter, Jan. 26, 2013.

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The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky
503 Madison St.
Clarksville, TN 37040

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