Guide to Successful Co Parenting After Divorce
Raising a child is a challenging and long-term endeavor that demands dedication, time, and financial resources. When two people who are no longer romantically involved are tasked with co-parenting, it requires a significant level of collaboration. Co-parenting can be especially complex when the individuals have a history, which might not always be a happy one. In this article, we delve into the concept of co-parenting, the process of creating a co-parenting plan, and the resources available to facilitate successful co-parenting, even if the parenting partners do not have a perfect relationship.
What is Co-Parenting?
Co-parenting refers to a situation where two individuals who are no longer in a romantic relationship share the responsibility of raising a child together. This term is commonly used for separated or divorced parents. Unlike parallel parenting, which involves a more distant approach to raising a child, co-parenting entails working together to meet the child’s needs and prioritize their best interests. Co-parents make joint decisions, both significant and minor, ranging from choosing the child’s school to determining their video game privileges.
Creating a Co-Parenting Plan
A primary objective of co-parenting is to provide the child with stability and security while preserving healthy relationships with both parents. To succeed in co-parenting, it is essential for both parents to be on the same page on various issues, which can be summarized in a co-parenting plan. This plan acts as a detailed set of agreed-upon rules and guidelines for how the child will be raised.
Addressing Basic Human Needs
As parents draft their co-parenting plan, they must consider their child’s fundamental physical and emotional needs. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be a helpful reference. The base of the pyramid represents the most basic physical needs such as shelter, food, water, healthcare, security, and safety. Once these needs are met, emotional needs like love, intimacy, friendship, and self-esteem come into play. Parents should keep these needs in mind while crafting the co-parenting plan.
Questions to Consider
To create an effective co-parenting plan, parents should discuss and agree upon various aspects of their child’s life. Some essential questions to ask include:
- Where will the child spend each day and night of the week?
- How will the schedule be established and communicated between co-parents and the child?
- How will the child be transported between locations?
- How might the schedule impact each parent’s work schedule?
2. Food and Water
- With whom will the child eat each meal?
- Who will be responsible for paying for the child’s meals?
- Are there any dietary considerations both parents should be aware of, such as food allergies or religious requirements?
- Who is the child’s physician?
- Who will be in charge of making doctor’s appointments and accompanying the child to them?
- What type of health insurance will cover the child, and who will be responsible for the costs?
4. Security and Safety
- What steps can both parents take to ensure consistency in the child’s schedule?
- What arrangements will be made for the child after school (babysitter, aftercare, etc.)?
- Will the child have a phone, and if so, who will pay the phone bill?
- What are the agreed-upon policies for the child’s social life, such as playdates and sleepovers?
- Which extracurricular activities will the child participate in, and who will be responsible for transportation and fees?
- How can each parent encourage the child’s personal growth through activities like sports, music lessons, or school club memberships?
- What are the shared expectations for homework and grades, and how will they be communicated and enforced?
- How will the parents model their post-divorce relationship for the child?
- Despite the challenges of divorce, how will they communicate to the child that they remain a top priority?
Resources for Successful Co-Parenting
Navigating the complexities of co-parenting may seem overwhelming, but numerous resources are available to support parents in this journey. Co-parenting counseling, co-parenting therapy, and co-parenting classes are valuable options to address common co-parenting issues and improve collaboration. Additionally, several co-parenting websites, apps, and other resources can facilitate effective co-parenting.
- This user-friendly record-keeping app was created by Michael Daniels, a co-parent himself. Fayr eliminates “he said, she said” arguments by tracking geographical check-ins, ensuring transparency in parents’ locations. It also assists in managing receipts, daily logs, and other essential paperwork.
- For parents focusing on financial matters, Supportpay.com provides a platform to upload financial documents, address payment disputes, and track financial responsibilities.
1. Custody Sharing
- Dr. Robert Emery’s article offers custody schedule examples for co-parenting children of all ages, providing valuable insights for crafting a schedule.
2. Consistency Plan
- Maintaining consistency in parenting can be challenging, especially in shared custody. The cooperation and consistent parenting plan template from Boystown.org provides helpful guidance.
3. Comprehensive Co-Parenting Worksheet
- Hello Divorce offers a free co-parenting worksheet covering various aspects, including timeshare ratios, holiday schedules, and child tax exemptions.
1. Book Recommendations
- For parents seeking in-depth information, books about co-parenting and divorce can be valuable resources. Hello Divorce provides a list of recommended books for various co-parenting situations.
Tips from a Co-Parenting Veteran
1. Emma Johnson’s Tips
- Emma Johnson shares 26 invaluable tips on how to succeed at co-parenting, even in the face of a contentious relationship with an ex-partner.
Co-parenting is a significant responsibility that requires collaboration, communication, and compromise. By focusing on the child’s needs and working together to create a co-parenting plan, separated or divorced parents can provide a stable and nurturing environment for their child. Numerous resources, from apps to books, are available to support co-parents in their journey. Remember that successful co-parenting can positively impact the child’s well-being and future happiness.
1. What is co-parenting?
- Co-parenting refers to the shared responsibility of raising a child by two individuals who are no longer romantically involved, usually separated or divorced parents.
2. What is the purpose of a co-parenting plan?
- A co-parenting plan serves as a detailed set of agreed-upon rules and guidelines to ensure effective collaboration between co-parents in raising their child.
3. How can I address my child’s basic needs in the co-parenting plan?
- Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, focusing on providing for the child’s physical and emotional needs, such as shelter, food, love, and security.
4. What resources are available for successful co-parenting?
- Co-parenting apps, templates, books, and counseling services can all be valuable resources to support successful co-parenting.
5. How can I ensure a positive co-parenting relationship with my ex?
- Focus on the child’s well-being, maintain open communication, and seek professional support when necessary to navigate challenges and create a positive co-parenting environment.