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Navigating your co-parenting relationship is crucial

When it comes to child custody and co-parenting after a divorce, the former spouses have a lot of responsibility -- possibly even more responsibility than they did before. They have to respect their child's wishes and their child's relationship with the other parent, and they also have to adhere to the rules and regulations established in their child custody agreement. Add on all of this to the normal responsibilities of just being a parent, and it can be a difficult endeavor.

However, there are some simple steps that any divorced parent can take to not only make this co-parenting relationship a little easier on everyone involved, but also possibly improve their relationship with their child. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Always consider how your decisions impact your child. Remember, you should always have your child's best interests in mind. Negatively impacting your ex can, and probably will, negatively impact your child.
  • Be open and effective with your communication when it comes to visitation and scheduling. Holidays, after-school activities, life events -- all of these things will have to be navigated in a co-parenting relationship.
  • Highlighting the latter part of the first point, you should never let the anger or frustration you feel about your ex to impact your behavior around your child. Don't sabotage your child's relationship with your ex, and don't tell embarrassing stories or make disparaging comments that involve your ex when you are around your child.
  • Also, avoid using guilt-trip strategies or using your child as a pawn to manipulate the relationship you, your child and your ex have together under the co-parenting model.

Source: Huffington Post, "Dr. Phil's Dos and Don'ts For Co-Parenting With Your Ex," Aug. 29, 2014

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