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How to avoid problems in a post-divorce co-parenting situation

Not every marriage lasts a lifetime. While the overall divorce rate in Texas and across the country has reportedly been declining in recent years, it doesn't guarantee any married couple that their particular relationship will stand the test of time. You may be one of hundreds of other couples who are preparing to end a marriage as a new year unfolds. If so, your children are no doubt your highest priority regarding what you should or should not do during proceedings and once the court finalizes your divorce.

There is definitely no shortage of post-divorce nightmarish stories regarding co-parenting. It's also true that you can't foolproof your interactions with your ex so that you can be certain you will never encounter challenges in your co-parenting lifestyle. However, you can keep several tips in mind to make things go as smoothly as possible. First, know where to seek support if a problem arises.

Prioritize and identify the problem

Concerning co-parenting after divorce, it's always best to clearly identify a specific problem when trouble surfaces, either in your children's behavior or in interactions with your ex. Try to remember that your co-parent isn't your enemy, and you both will want to keep your children's best interests as the central focus of your interactions.

Don't squabble

It is important to choose your battles in a co-parenting situation. It saves time and energy and keeps stress levels to a minimum. Once you identify a problem, you can engage in peaceful discussion to devise a possible solution plan. If you and your ex disagree about how to handle a particular matter, you can reach out for outside support, especially if it concerns a court order, custody, visitation or support matter.

Writing a list often helps

If you and your ex tend to get emotional or argue when you try to resolve parenting issues, you may want to consider ways to keep your communication centered on your children. One tactic could include writing and exchanging separate lists that state your perspective on the disputed matter. You could include what you feel your or your children's needs are and what course of action you believe is best to help mitigate the circumstances.

A time to consider emotions

The fact is that sometimes a co-parenting problem has more to do with emotions than a logistical, practical or legal issue. It's always a good idea to try to avoid criticizing your co-parent, even if you think he or she is being superficial or trivial about a particular situation. Your chances of resolving the problem may increase if you instead try to see things from the other person's point of view and try to have empathy and compassion for his or her feelings as a parent.

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