5 tips for successful shared parenting after a Tennessee divorce

By setting their differences aside and working together, parents may be able to successfully co-parent their children after a Tennessee divorce.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were more than 26,800 divorces across the state in 2013. Some of these, and other couples who split, are able to make clean break and move on with their lives apart. However, when divorcing couples share children, they often have to continue dealing with each other. While it may present challenges, developing a shared parenting plan may help parents to work together for the good of their children.

Commit to communicating

For people who are co-parenting, communication is often essential. Just as they would do if they were in a relationship, parents must regularly discuss their children and what is going on their lives. In order to avoid disputes or issues where their kids feel as though they have to pick a side, it is important for those who are co-parenting to commit to communicating with one another. This includes discussing their children's development, education, health and other issues, as well as changes in their own circumstances and lives.

Put the children first

Even if they share a child, it is common for people who divorce to have feelings of animosity or hurt towards one another. For the sake of their children, however, it is important for them to set their differences aside. It is suggested that they focus on their kids and their needs, rather than on the issues between them. In addition to avoiding fighting in front of their children, parents should also refrain from bad mouthing their kids' other parents to them or in front of them.

Develop a detailed parenting plan

Parents who share joint custody will generally develop a parenting plan as a part of their divorce agreement. Tennessee state law dictates that such plans should establish the rights and responsibilities of each parent and provide for the child's needs as he or she grows. Further, parenting plans should limit the child's exposure to parental conflict and establish a process the parents will use for resolving disputes. By creating a thorough parenting plan, people may help avoid some of the issues that may arise when raising a child apart.

Be consistent

It is common for children to test their boundaries to see what they can and cannot get away with. For those who are shared parenting, it is important to agree on rules for their children. This includes what chores their kids are responsible for, bed time and when they must do their homework. Having a consistent structure and routine in both households may create a sense of security for children, as well as help prevent some behavioral problems.

Recognize there will be challenges

When raising a child apart, there are bound to be challenges. Parents should keep in mind this does not mean that co-parenting is not the right option for their families. Rather, they should understand that challenges are just part of the situation and raising a child. Should disputes arise, parents should recognize that making certain accommodations or concessions may be for the needs of their kids.

Seek legal counsel

For Tennessee parents, one of the most important aspects of their divorce cases is developing a custody and visitation arrangement. In order to help them agree on a shared parenting plan, it may help people to work with an attorney. A lawyer may assist them in developing a co-parenting agreement that is in their child's best interests.