Is Co-Parenting Right for You?
Regardless of the relationship you have with the other parent, your child comes first. The range of possible co-parenting options are endless, and it can be hard to know what will best suit your child.
Co-parenting, an arrangement in which both parents share the responsibilities of raising a child. And when both parents are able and willing to do so, co-parenting is preferred by professionals. Findings published by Linda Nielsen, a Wake Forest University professor, show that shared parenting is linked to better emotional, behavioral, and physical health outcomes for children of all ages.
Consider the Pros and Cons of co-parenting, and whether it will be a good fit for you. No one understands the dynamics in your relationships better than you, and it can be important to know what co-parenting will look like for you. Co-parenting is not easy and requires a complex toolbox of communication skills, patience, and cooperation that will inevitably be challenging in the wake of a breakup or divorce. However, when done right, it can be a game-changer for kids.
“What I know now and desperately needed to hear then is this: Let go of the family you thought you’d be and accept the family that you are. It won’t be easy, and there will be days when it feels nearly impossible. You will feel guilt, but you are not guilty.”
- Josh Lucas
Where to Begin
You and your co-parent are a team in the game of raising your child. Setting some ground rules and creating a shared understanding can build the strong foundation needed to help you both succeed. Creating healthy boundaries will also help to create productive conversations from the start.
A Parenting Plan is ultimately a list of everything that you do to provide and care for your children. From bedtime, meals, appointments, and school commitments, a parenting plan should span every aspect of a child’s life. Developing a parenting plan with your co-parent is a key part of starting logistical discussions that will build the future of your co-parenting. If possible, creating a parenting plan directly with your co-parent is the best route to take.
When Should I Call a Lawyer?
While it is entirely possible to co-parent without going to court, negotiating and planning your co-parenting plan will be complicated. Finding and hiring professionals, such as mediators or lawyers, can be an important piece of building a parenting plan.
Additionally, calculating the costs related to raising a child between two households needs to be considered. Maintain records of your spending and expenses when calculating your child support agreement. Remember that events may occur in the future when you could need to adjust your child support, and that is okay.
What if Co-Parenting Doesn’t Work?
Co-Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it is possible that it may not suit your situation. There are many common co-parenting issues that families encounter on a regular basis. Continue to work towards a solution that allows your children to be safe, happy, and healthy.
"We're doing our very best and we're putting our kids first and that's how we're focusing on our day-to-day lives and we don't know what the future's going to hold, but each step that we take is one where we prioritize our children and everything else comes second."
- Ben Affleck
Talking Parents is a co-parenting communication service that helps tens of thousands of users every day. Through their free web application and premium mobile app, Talking Parents is an innovative service that improves accountability and communication between co-parents. Features include accountable calling, unalterable messaging, secure file storage, journals, shared calendars, and more.
Talking Parents also has a searchable directory of lawyers that can help you contact law firms in your area.