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The importance of co-parenting

One of the most important things children need is love, stability and a relationship with both parents. However, during and after a divorce, the latter can be difficult to provide no matter how good the parents' intentions are. Even in a shared parenting arrangement where the children spend a fairly equal amount of time with both parents, it can still be difficult for the parents to be involved in the children's activities, school functions and daily lives.

In situations where the parents are still harboring negative feelings and anger toward their ex-spouses over the failed relationship or divorce proceedings, it can be even more challenging for the parents to work together and support the child. However, children who do have parents who put forth every effort to have a positive co-parenting relationship with their exes are the better for it because it helps them cope with and navigate all of the changes and issues that come with the break up of the family unit.

Communication is key to successful co-parenting, yet it is also one of the driving forces behind why relationships end. Couples may ask themselves how they are going to communicate effectively now if they couldn't when they were married. Getting everything in writing, whether it be on paper, through email or via text, can help everyone stay on the same page and avoid confusion over dates, times or responsibilities. It's also a good idea to have the school send a copy of all paperwork to both parents.

Raising children is fraught with emotional landmines, but continuing to work with your ex-spouse as a team can help make this easier. However, there are some situations where it's impossible to come to an agreement or the other person refuses to interact in a positive manner. It is in these cases where the courts may need to step in.

Source: Office of the Attorney General of Texas, "Co-parenting Guide," accessed May. 14, 2015

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