(English) 4 Important Steps to Follow When Making a Co-Parenting Plan
According to research conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 39% of marriages in the United States end up in divorce. Not only do married couples separate this way in the millions, but unmarried cohabiting partners also suffer similar rates of separation. In situations where estranged couples had kids while they were still together, separation automatically creates the need to confront one of life’s most challenging dilemmas – co-parenting. Simply put, co-parenting is a formal agreement made between former spouses, or partners, to cordially share the responsibility of raising any children they had together as a couple, regardless of being separated.
Co-parenting Takes Work:
As you can imagine, coming to such an agreement mutually isn’t always an easy thing for people to do. If there’s been any animosity built during separation, resentment can trigger conflict and neglect between the parents involved, and the fewer parents get along, the more kids will suffer from their parents’ acrimony. No matter how complicated the situation might be, however, it’s important for separated couples to set aside their differences in order to act in the best interests of the kids. After all, children have no choice but to rely on their parents’ care and discretion.
Here are a few tips on how to create a solid co-parenting plan.
- Make a Calendar – The first thing to iron out when co-parenting is how to divide the time spent with the kids. Each household has its own unique circumstances that influence how much facetime parents will eventually get, but, the ideal arrangement would be a 50/50 allocation of time for each parent. Sit down together with a calendar and meticulously decide each day or week you should each receive custody.
- Choose How to Communicate – You and your co-parent should establish an exclusive channel of communication that allows you to get in touch with each other at all times. For example, purchase a unique phone line that you can designate as a binding way to talk when necessary. Designated communication channels guarantee that co-parents can share important information with each other without confusion or delays.
- Set Boundaries on who can Meet/Watch Your Kids in Your Absence – One of the most controversial flashpoints of co-parenting is when a former partner meets someone new. In the event that your co-parent decides to date other people, make it known whether you want to be introduced to the first or whether you object to your child getting in contact with them at all. It’s a tough conversation to have, but don’t sweep it under the rug. Ignoring this conversation can lead to big fights down the road.
- Pick a Neutral Place to Exchange your Child – Setting up custody-swaps at your residence sounds like a convenient idea, but emotional baggage from the relationship might not always make this possible. If it’s difficult for you to allow your co-parent back into your physical space, or if you’re likely to move-house anyways, pick a neutral place like a restaurant where the two of you can meet without feeling invaded.
Whether or not you live with your partner, raising kids is a lifelong commitment that can never be abandoned. Your kids don’t just need you to feed, shelter, and clothe them, they need you to create a sense of stability and security in their lives. This is the spirit that should guide the decisions you make as a co-parent. Show your kids that there’s no conflict or obstacle so big that it would tear you away from them – even divorce. Co-parenting might not always go smoothly, but it makes a difference if you stay determined to make it work. Do everything you can to make sure your kids know you’ll be there, no matter what.